China's stolen the US' chip-laden crown for building the world's fastest supercomputer. The National University of Defense Technology's Tianhe-1A PC uses "American" chips from Intel and Nvidia, and supposedly it solves math problems 29million times faster than 1976's supercomputer.
The computer, which has over 7,168 M2050 graphics cards from Nvidia at a cost of $2,500 each, and 14,336 processors from Intel, is under lock and key with the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Education prior to its big unveil later today.
Why does a 2.507 petaflop supercomputer warrant governmental expense like that? It boils down to national pride, with the supercomputer race being extremely competitive. The US' fastest supercomputer is housed in a laboratory in Tennessee, where it's been since 2004 when they toppled Japan off the top of the pile. [NY Times and Reuters and Nvidia]