An article in Computer World by Patrick Thibodeau reports how David Turek, the vice-president of IBM, spoke last week about the growing emergence of China in the worldwide HPC competition. Turek said, “Within a year, there will be more Top500 systems in China than there are in Europe collectively.”
China currently holds the claim to having built the second-fastest supercomputer in the world. The U.S., according to the article, has 282 supercomputers in the Top500 listing, China contributes 24, and Europe has about 100. Growing their share of HPC four times over in the next year would be an impressive achievement for China.
U.S. supercomputer manufacturers, naturally, are somewhat fearful of this progress abroad. Turek, somewhat alarmed, commented, “You have sovereign nations making material investments of a tremendous magnitude to basically eat our lunch, eat our collective lunch.”
U.S. business and government are taking measures to make the United States even more competitive in the HPC market, lest that homegrown production goes the way of the U.S. automobile industry. While China is building an enormous new supercomputing center in Shenzhen, the challenge for the United States will be not only to continue leading technologically, but convincing more and more sectors of the U.S. economy that HPC solutions can grow their business beyond what their obsolete equipment now allows.