The US government has restricted Intel to help China building the world’s biggest supercomputer. The Tianhe-2 computer needs new chips which were supposed to be built Intel. Intel has applied for a license to build and export thousands of these chips to China but was restricted by the US as they fear about nuclear research being done with the supercomputer.
Intel was refused by the department of commerce; they said that they have security concerns. In a separate deal, Intel has signed a $200m deal with the US government to construct a powerful supercomputer in one of its national laboratories.
The Tianhe-2 generates a computing capacity of 33 pataflops and uses 80,000 Intel Xeon chip. One Petaflop means one quadrillion calculations per second. The Tianhe-2 is known to be the world’s most powerful supercomputer for the last 18 months.
In a notice published online the US Department of Commerce said that the action is not in the best interest of the country and they refused the application. They also said that the supercomputer is being used for nuclear activities and that the US will not allow Intel to provide chips that will aid China in the development of nuclear weapons.
Intel complied with the notification by the US Department of Commerce and applied for the export license. Intel said that they are in compliance with the laws of the US. While China is accelerating the growth of their Supercomputer, so is the US.