When the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin, China, announced that they built Tianhe-1A â€” the worldâ€™s fastest supercomputer based on NVIDIA Tesla GPUs â€” there were a lot of folks who questioned whether this system was just a stunt machine or a true deep investment in science and technology.
Well, it looks like GPU supercomputers, like the Tianhe-1A, are just a small part of the investments that China is making in science and technology sectors â€“ especially the high-performance computing (HPC) space. Tianhe-1A has proven today that itâ€™s more than just a record-breaking machine â€“ itâ€™s a true scientific tool.
Scientists at the Institute of Process Engineering (IPE) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) today announced a record-breaking scientific simulation on the Tianhe-1A GPU supercomputer that furthers their research in solar energy. CAS-IPE scientists ran a complex molecular dynamics (MD) simulation on all 7,168 NVIDIA Tesla GPUs to achieve a performance of 1.87 petaflops per second â€“ thatâ€™s about the same performance as 130,000 laptops. These scientists are simulating the structure of crystalline silicon which is used in solar panels and also in the semiconductor industry. And they were able to accomplish this worldâ€™s fastest MD simulation by writing just 2,000 lines of CUDA code.