Nation to build supercomputing capacity

A section of the light-based quantum computer developed by researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China. [PhotoXinhua]

China plans to build a supercomputing internet by the end of 2025 to connect powerful computers across the country and effectively use their shared computing power to boost innovation and socio-economic growth, experts said.

The plan was announced on Monday during a working meeting organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology. After decades of efforts, China’s supercomputing sector is among the global leaders, effectively supporting the country’s scientific and technological innovation, social development and digital economy, the ministry said in a statement.

With the advent of big data, artificial intelligence and a new generation of information technology, society needs more computing power than ever before, the statement said. The purpose of the supercomputing internet, according to the statement, is to organize local data centers into a more coordinated system at the national level.

The venture will allow China to overcome key problems such as uneven computing capacity distribution, a lack of standardization at computing ports and a lack of incentives for the creation and adoption of domestically developed application software, the statement added.

The supercomputing Internet is expected to support China’s efforts to make breakthroughs in science and technology, support economic growth and improve people’s lives.

It will become a highway to fulfill the Digital China Strategy – a massive initiative aimed at using digital and electronic technologies, solutions and services to boost the economy and increase the country’s competitiveness in the global digital landscape.

Li Guojie, a prominent computer scientist and academic at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said China’s supercomputing applications, especially those for industrial enterprises, still lag behind some countries.

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By building an integrated and efficient supercomputing internet, China can eliminate its application shortcomings and make supercomputers more accessible to the general public, he added.

Qian Depei, head of the Expert Committee set up for the supercomputing Internet, said China has a growing need for computing power to spur its economic development, making the reform very significant.

For example, with the new integrated supercomputing Internet, service providers and users can communicate more effectively. A market-based operation and service mechanism will lower the entry barriers for using supercomputers and take China’s computer technology to new heights.

Sun Ninghui, another well-known computer scientist and academic at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said supercomputers are fundamental digital infrastructure that can drive technological revolutions.

Therefore, it is imperative that China significantly lowers the cost of accessing this computing power and lowers the barriers to entry for programming on these machines, Sun added.