Computing power has emerged as a crucial national resource. Ever since the first general purpose computer, ENIAC, was used to calculate artillery and bomb ballistics, compute applications have exploded. Today, engineers use computer simulations to cheaply evaluate designs before using more resource intensive validation techniques like building scale models in wind tunnels. Scientists simulate protein interactions to find promising drug formulations before lab testing. Government agencies use supercomputers to forecast weather and climate patterns. A nation with ample computing power can more efficiently leverage its human and material capital to achieve its policy goals.
China is well aware of this and supercomputer development is high on their list of national priorities. Sunway sits front and center in China’s homegrown supercomputer effort. At Supercomputing 23, Sunway is showing off their SW20610-Pro processor which dates back to late 2020 to early 2021. It’s an improved version of the SW20610 featured in their Sunway TaihuLight. TaihuLight is currently rank 11 on the TOP500 list of most powerful supercomputers. The new Sunway supercomputer looks to take second place, landing just behind the United States Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s new Frontier supercomputer.
To that end, Sunway iterates on a design that focuses almost exclusively on compute density. SW20610-Pro takes SW20610’s basic architecture and scales it up while modernizing off-chip connectivity.