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Nation to build up supercomputing capacities

By ZHANG ZHIHAO | | Updated: 2023-04-18 23:49
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A section of the light-based quantum computer created 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 nation and effectively tap into their joint computing power to promote innovation and socioeconomic growth, experts said.

The plan was announced during a work meeting organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology on Monday. After decades of efforts, China's supercomputing sector is among global front-runners, effectively supporting the nation's science and technology innovation, social development and digital economy, the ministry said in a statement.

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

The endeavor will allow China to overcome key issues such as an uneven distribution of computing capacity, a lack of standardization in computing ports and a lack of incentives for creating and adopting domestically developed application software, the statement added.

The supercomputing internet is expected to support China's efforts in making breakthroughs in science and engineering, support economic growth and improve people's lives.

It will become a highway for fulfilling the digital China strategy — a massive initiative that aims to use digital and electronic technologies, solutions and services to power the economy and increase the nation's competitiveness in the global digital landscape.

Li Guojie, a noted computer scientist and an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said that China's supercomputing applications, especially those for industrial companies, still lag behind some countries.

By building an integrated and efficient supercomputing internet, China can improve 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 that China has a growing need for computing power to fuel its economic development, which makes 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 push China's computing technology to new heights.

Sun Ninghui, another noted computer scientist and an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said supercomputers are foundational digital infrastructure that can spur technological revolutions.

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

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