Supercomputer is not like iphone that you can sell millions of them every year. You can only sell so many supercomputers to a fixed set of customers every year, therefore any addition to this customer set is very important to the supercomputer manufacturers. As to the usage, internet information filtering and tracking people who said something "politically inappropriate" are one of the major field these computers are deployed in there. Sure, there are other fields, but they are not of any significance. Here is a link to a chinese article published in the official chinese government media talking about the kind of tasks running on their supercomputers are too simple and mostly politically or economically driven by local goverment, and it is a huge waste of resource. DO NOTICE THAT THE INFORMATION IS FROM CHINESE GOVERNMENT MEDIA, NOT FROM SOME WHITE AMERICAN COLD WAR POLITICIAN. If you are interested you can use google translate to read it.
Here is a little historical background about chinese supercomputer:
Some years ago, american legislator held a disscussion on whether granting china Most Favored Nation status every year, and Intel is one of the biggest companies that lobbied the congress in favor of such policy. At the mean time, chinese built their second supercomputer called Yinhe II, and the goal of building it is very clear at the begining: totally unusable. Its solo purpose is to let americans know that we can build "supercomputer" too, and your blocade on computer technology is useless, come and sell us your IBM super computer!!! As a result, american business men not only build us supercomputers, but also gladly anounce to the chinese people that it's actually you chinese built it. AND AGAIN SUCH INFORMATION IS STILL COMING FROM CHINA, ALL I DO IS JUST TRANSLATING THE INFO.
I understand why US companies are profit driven...but to give the leadersip to China implies that there is no profits in supercomputing...is that true? I would think large problems, say weather prediction, requires supercomputing...Kris
It's mainly thanks to american business men who want to make some bucks out of communists who want to have something to boast both domestically and internationally. The research papers on super computer published every year are not classified as top secret and are freely available on the internet, and they can copy it without any license fee. And all the core technologies they used are still coming from USA. In my opinion, a super computer is the cheapest and easiest modern national wonder for any country to build. If Iranian ditches their nuclear program and focus on super computer, you probably can see a few Iranian made super computers in the top ten list next couple years.
So far as I know, they don't have any computing tasks that scale to it. A super computer lacks of proper tasks is just one big expensive room heater.
thank you Rick...this is what surpised me teh most (I have not been watching this space for years, I assumed USA is firmly in the lead): China build their supercomputers with US designed chips! the chips might had even been manufactured in USA...Kris