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China says its world-first 'exascale' supercomputer is almost complete

• http://www.sciencealert.com,BEC CREW

If you've never heard of an exascale computer before - known unofficially as a super-supercomputer - don't worry, it doesn't even exist yet. 

But 2017 could be the year that all changes, because China just announced that its world-first exascale supercomputer prototype is due for completion in the coming months. If this thing works as it should, it will be the fastest computer in the world, capable of performing 1 quintillion (a billion billion) calculations per second.

The country's National Supercomputer Centre announced this week that completion of their prototype is way ahead of schedule, and is expected to be completed in 2017, rather than 2018, as originally predicted.

It will take another couple of years before the finished prototype will be developed into a fully functional model, but if things go according to plan, it's going to be seriously worth the wait.

"A complete computing system of the exascale supercomputer and its applications can ... be expected in 2020, and will be 200 times more powerful than the country's first petaflop computer Tianhe-1, recognised as the world's fastest in 2010," Zhang Ting from the National Supercomputer Centre told state news agency Xinhua.

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