China and the U.S. are at it again. The U.S. government has refused to let Intel update China’s Tianhe-2, the world’s largest supercomputer.
Intel applied for a license to be able to export tens of thousands of chips. The Department of Commerce refused Intel, saying they were concerned about nuclear research being done with the machine, said Next Big Future.
The Tianhe-2 is comprised of 80,000 Intel Xeon CPUs, which gives it 33.86 petaflops of CPU performance.
A petaflop is equal to about one quadrillion calculations per second.
In a notice published online, the U.S. Department of Commerce said it refused Intel’s application to export the chips for Tianhe-2 and three other Chinese supercomputers because the machines were being used for “nuclear explosive activities.” The relevant section of U.S. export regulations reveals that this covers technologies used in the “design, development, or fabrication” of nuclear weapons, the BBC website said.
The notice added that the four institutions where the supercomputers would be located were deemed to be “acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.”
Horst Simon, a supercomputer expert and deputy director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said the U.S. restrictions in the long run will help Chinese chip makers and hurt U.S. companies. “The Chinese will be more incentivized to develop their own technology, and U.S. manufacturers will be seen as less reliable and potentially not able to satisfy foreign orders,” The Mercury said on their website.
Well, I guess the U.S. only wants to export goods that are easy to put spyware into.