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中国让开,世界上最快的计算机再次属于美国
Move Over, China: U.S. Is Again Home to World’s Speediest Supercomputer

来源:纽约时报    2018-06-11 04:43



        The United States just won bragging rights in the race to build the world’s speediest supercomputer.        在建造世界最快的超级计算机竞赛中,美国刚刚赢得了可夸耀的资本。
        For five years, China had the world’s fastest computer, a symbolic achievement for a country trying to show that it is a tech powerhouse. But the United States retook the lead thanks to a machine, called Summit, built for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.        五年来,拥有世界速度最快计算机的都是中国。这是一个国家试图展示其科技大国地位的象征性成就。但美国凭着为田纳西州橡树岭国家实验室(Oak Ridge National Laboratory)建造的一台名叫“巅峰”(Summit)的机器,得以重新领先。
        Summit’s speeds, announced on Friday, boggle the mind. It can do mathematical calculations at the rate of 200 quadrillion per second, or 200 petaflops. To put in human terms: A person doing one calculation a second would have to live for more than 6.3 billion years to match what the machine can do in a second.        周五公布的“巅峰”的运行速度令人惊讶。它能以每秒20亿亿次——或200千兆次——的速度进行数学计算。拿人来说:一个人每秒进行一次运算,则需要活63亿多年才能与这个机器一秒之内所完成的工作量相比。
        Still stupefying? Here is another analogy. If a stadium built for 100,000 people was full, and everyone in it had a modern laptop, it would take 20 stadiums to match the computing firepower of Summit.        还没感觉?再打个比方。如果一个可容纳10万人的场馆全部坐满,每人手中都拿着一个现代的笔记本电脑,那么则需要20个场馆的人,才能与“巅峰”的计算能力相媲美。
        China still has the world’s most supercomputers over all. And China, Japan and Europe are developing machines that are even faster, which could mean the American lead is short-lived.        中国仍然有世界上最多的超级计算机。而中国、日本和欧洲正在研发速度更快的机器,这意味着美国的领先地位只是暂时的。
        Supercomputers like Summit, which cost $200 million in government money to build, can accelerate the development of technologies at the frontier of computing, like artificial intelligence and the ability to handle vast amounts of data.        像“巅峰”这样花费了2亿美元政府资金建造的超级计算机可加快电脑前沿技术的发展,比如人工智能和庞大数据处理的能力。
        Those skills can be used to help tackle daunting challenges in science, industry and national security — and are at the heart of an escalating rivalry between the United States and China over technology.        这些技术可被用于解决科学、工业和国防安全中的艰巨挑战——它们也是日益升级的中美科技竞争的核心。
        For years, American tech companies have accused China of stealing their intellectual property. And some Washington lawmakers say that Chinese companies like ZTE and Huawei pose a national security risk.
        多年来,美国科技公司都在谴责中国窃取其知识产权。华盛顿一些议员也称中兴和华为等中国公司对美国的国家安全构成了威胁。
        Supercomputers now perform tasks that include simulating nuclear tests, predicting climate trends, finding oil deposits and cracking encryption codes. Scientists say that further gains and fresh discoveries in fields like medicine, new materials and energy technology will rely on the approach that Summit embodies.        超级计算机现在进行的任务包括模拟核试验、预测气候趋势、寻找石油储量、破解加密编码。科学家表示,在医药、新材料和能源科技领域的进一步收获和新发现将依赖于“巅峰”所能实现的方法。
        “These are big data and artificial intelligence machines,” said John E. Kelly, who oversees IBM Research, which helped build Summit. “That’s where the future lies.”        “这就是大数据和人工智能机器,”负责监管IBM研发中心(IBM Research)的约翰·E·凯利(John E. Kelly)说,他也负责了“巅峰”的建造。“这就是未来所在。”
        The global supercomputer rankings have been compiled for more than two decades by a small team of computer scientists who put together a Top 500 list. It is led by Jack Dongarra, a computer scientist at the University of Tennessee. The newest list will not be released until later this month, but Mr. Dongarra said he was certain that Summit was the fastest.        全球超级计算机排名已经开展了20多年,由计算机科学家组成的一个小团队编纂了500强名单。该团队由田纳西大学(University of Tennessee)的计算机科学家杰克·唐加拉(Jack Dongarra)带领。最新名单将在本月晚些时候公布。但唐加拉表示他确定最快的肯定是“巅峰”。
        At 200 petaflops, the new machine achieves more than twice the speed of the leading supercomputer in November, when the last Top 500 list was published. That machine is at China’s National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi.        这台速度达200千兆次的机器是在去年11月公布的500强名单上位居首位的超级计算机运算速度的两倍多。该机器位于中国无锡的国家超级计算中心。
        Summit is made up of rows of black, refrigerator-size units that weigh a total of 340 tons and are housed in a 9,250 square-foot room. It is powered by 9,216 central processing chips from IBM and 27,648 graphics processors from Nvidia, another American tech company, that are lashed together with 185 miles of fiber-optic cable.        “巅峰”由数排黑色的、冰箱大小的单元组成,总重量达340吨,配置在一间9250平方英尺(约合859平方米)的房内。由IBM的9216个中央处理芯片和另一家美国科技公司Nvidia的2.7648万个图像处理器提供运算力,它们被185英里(约合298千米)的光缆联系在一起。
        Cooling Summit requires 4,000 gallons of water a minute, and the supercomputer consumes enough electricity to light up 8,100 American homes.        “巅峰”的冷却需要每分钟4000加仑水(约合1.5万升),而这台超级计算机所消耗的电力足以为8100户美国家庭提供照明。
        The global supercomputer sprint comes as internet giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google in the United States and Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent in China take the lead in developing technologies like cloud computing and facial recognition.        随着美国的亚马逊、Facebook、谷歌,中国的阿里巴巴、百度、腾讯这样的互联网巨头在云计算和面部识别等科技发展中占据领先地位,全球超级计算机冲刺赛也随之而来。
                
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