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Taiwan to launch new supercomputer in July: scientists

2011/02/05 17:28:42

Taipei, Feb. 5 (CNA) A Taiwan-made supercomputer that is expectedto be listed among the 100 fastest in the world will go intooperation in July this year as part of the Republic of Chinacentennial celebrations, government-backed researchers said Saturday.

The construction of the supercomputer is part of a scienceproject initiated by the National Applied Research Laboratories(NARL) that works to expand Taiwan's research ability in severalfields.

NARL's goals include setting up bio-medical research centers,developing autonomic space exploration systems, forming alliances forexchanges of nano-scale technologies and launching a large researchship, said NARL President Chen Wen-hwa.

The new supercomputer, working at 170 trillion floating pointcalculations per second, should rank between 51st and 55th among theworld's most powerful computers when it comes on stream, and it willremain among the top 100 for the following two years, said ChiangKuo-ning, director of Taiwan's National Center for High-PerformanceComputing.

The supercomputer is being built by Acer Inc. at a cost of NT$300million (US$10.26 million) , and it will provide a wider range ofscience computing services than the current supercomputer that worksat 20 trillion floating point calculations per second, Chiang said.

The new supercomputer will consume NT$30 million to NT$50 millionworth of electricity per year, he said.

While 30 percent of the top 100 supercomputers in the world areused for financial purposes, the supercomputers in Taiwan have beenused to boost research in scientific fields such as physics andchemistry, Chiang said.

Meanwhile, a new 2,700-ton research vessel will be launched atKaohsiung Harbor in May or June this year, said Chen Kuo-hsing,deputy director of Taiwan Ocean Research Institute.

It will be the first ocean research vessel of that size inTaiwan, he said, noting that the existing ships are around 300 to 890tons.

The new vessel is expected to substantially improve Taiwan'smarine research and exploration capability and also help fostergreater public awareness of ocean research, he said.

(By Yang Su-min and Jeffrey Wu)