When it comes to world rankings China tends to trust the first place through sheer size rather than speed, in particular when one talks about technology. So, the recent news that it may soon be leading the ranking of supercomputers may come as a surprise.
It shouldn’t. First, China already ranks second with its Nebulae Dawning able to clock 1271000 Rmax(GFlops). Then, it is no secret that the country has embarked on a race to join the ranks of leading science powerhouses. For instance, supercomputers are used in climate modeling or genomics. Third, and more importantly, there are serious commercial prospects for high-speed computers in some industries coveted by Chinese firms, including the car and pharmaceutical industry as well as oil prospection (seismic imaging).
The next step for Chinese engineers? To lead also the Green500 list, which measures the performance per watt.