ORNL computing chief says it will tough to compete with Chinas Supercomputers

Jeff Nichols, associate lab director in charge of scientific computing at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, visited China for the first time earlier this month and spoke at an Nvidia-sponsored conference in Beijing.

The folks at the Beijng conference included representatives from the top scientific computing labs, including those housing the No. 1 (Japan’s K Computer) and No. 2 (China’s Tianhe-1A system) on the latest list of the world’s Top500 supercomputers. Nichols visited the nearby lab housing the Tianhe-1A computer as part of the conference, where he spoke about the scientific computing at ORNL — including the transformation of the No. 3-ranked Jaguar.
Nichols said it’s going to be difficult for the United States to gain or reclaim world leadership in supercomputing.
China is a particularly formidable competitor, he said. "They’ve got a lot of money. They can invest tons of money in computers. They’re going to be hard to compete with. I think we have a better handle on applications and scalability and issues surrounding scalability, especially these unique heterogeneous nodes . . . But they can afford to build and buy these machines a lot faster than we are.