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Taiwan's new supercomputer now operating

2018/05/08 17:58:43

Taipei, May 8 (CNA) Taiwan's new supercomputer, the "Taiwania," started officially operating Tuesday, which, according to an official of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) will contribute tremendously to the country's tech and research development.

The Taiwania, which is the country's first petascale supercomputer, has a central processing capability of up to 1.33 peta floating point operations per second (pflops), and took two years and NT$430 million (US$14.426 million) for the ministry's National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs) to build.

In layman's terms, "to match what a 1 pflops computer system can do in just one second, you'd have to perform one calculation every second for 31,688,765 years," according to Indiana University's website.

Comparatively, NARLabs noted that Taiwania has a processing capability that is seven times that of its previous supercomputer, the Advanced Large-scale Parallel Supercluster (ALPS), and energy efficiency that is 10 times that of the original.

Meanwhile, Taiwania only takes up one-third of the space, about 33.05 square meters, that the ALPS did, NARLabs continued.

Director-general Shieh Ce-kuen (謝錫堃) of the NARLabs' National Center for High-performance Computing (NCHC) listed air pollution and medicine as a couple of areas in which the computer's high processing capabilities will be useful.

Specifically, the Taiwania can determine more precisely how air pollutants, such particulate matter 2.5, will spread, and can therefore provide important data that can help the government decide how to prevent and address poor air quality, Shieh said.

In medicine, the incredible operating powers of the computer can expedite advancements in the research on Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, he continued.

He explained that the computer was named after the large coniferous tree native to eastern Asia because like the tree, the supercomputer will boost Taiwan's development.

The fact that the word "Taiwan" is in the name will also let the country be recognized in international publications and reports, he concluded.

(By Chu Tse-wei and Kuan-lin Liu)