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China's Latest Supercomputer Online and Probing the Secrets of the Universe

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) announced that the Tianhe-1A GPU supercomputer is up and running and investigating complex molecular dynamics (MD) simulation. The 7,168 NVIDIA Tesla GPUs are being used to achieve 1.87 petaflops per second. The scientists simulating structure of crystalline silicon which is used in solar panels and other electronics.

They also simulated a system with 110.1 billion atoms and the simulation ran for about 500,000 time steps to simulate a physical time of 0.116 nanoseconds of the system evolution (it seems this is a meaningful time span for the physical problem at hand). Each step takes 25 microseconds to compute, so the whole simulation takes about 3 hours on the Tianhe-1A system.