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NSA, DOE Say China's Supercomputing Advances Put US At Risk (computerworld.com) 130

dcblogs quotes a report from Computerworld: Advanced computing experts at the National Security Agency and the Department of Energy are warning that China is "extremely likely" to take leadership in supercomputing as early as 2020, unless the U.S. acts quickly to increase spending. China's supercomputing advances are not only putting national security at risk, but also U.S. leadership in high-tech manufacturing. If China succeeds, it may "undermine profitable parts of the U.S. economy," according to a report titled U.S. Leadership in High Performance Computing by HPC technical experts at the NSA, the DOE, the National Science Foundation and other agencies. The report stems from a workshop held in September that was attended by 60 people, many scientists, 40 of whom work in government, with the balance representing industry and academia. "Meeting participants, especially those from industry, noted that it can be easy for Americans to draw the wrong conclusions about what HPC investments by China mean -- without considering China's motivations," the report states. "These participants stressed that their personal interactions with Chinese researchers and at supercomputing centers showed a mindset where computing is first and foremost a strategic capability for improving the country; for pulling a billion people out of poverty; for supporting companies that are looking to build better products, or bridges, or rail networks; for transitioning away from a role as a low-cost manufacturer for the world; for enabling the economy to move from 'Made in China' to 'Made by China.'"
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NSA, DOE Say China's Supercomputing Advances Put US At Risk

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  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @09:31PM (#54048091)
    Instead of billions on a stupid wall, invest billions in supercomputing tech. Hell, invest billions in semiconductor tech, cuz China is trying to take the lead in semiconductors big time.

    Fucking Trump, trying to bring back manufacturing when he doesn't understand the concept of "robot".
    • by Anonymous Coward

      That wall is going to be tall and absolutely beautiful. Powerful. Secure, with underground sensors and towers with guards packing automatic weapons and night vision it'll be world class U! S! A! U! S! A! state of the art National Park tourist attraction for 2000 miles and worthy of the Donald J Trump logo in gold letters at the top. Bigger and BETTER than the Berlin Wall and the Great Wall of China.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Indeed. China already took the lead in wall technology a few thousand years ago...

    • Yeah! Make MEXICO pay for the supercomputing tech!
      • Yeah! Make MEXICO pay for the supercomputing tech!

        Actually we are by default making China pay for it. The downside of which is that we will have to beg for time on it on their terms.

    • by sit1963nz ( 934837 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @10:05PM (#54048283)
      Hell, cut back on your military spending, the US already spends more than the next 10 nations combined. Even if you halved spending you would still spend more than any other nation. Those trillions could be used for health, education, R&D, infrastructure, welfare, etc etc etc
      • by Anonymous Coward

        But it's the only thing we can think of to employ Americans. The private sector just doesn't employ as many people at good wages with benefits. It's pretty much the only way for many of us as our cities have had anything they were known for automated. You /. people love to blame the victim and tell them evolve or die, learn new skills but its not about any individual when entire cities have their economy ripped out. People coming up in this environment don't thrive unless they come from money, get a break o

        • by Kiuas ( 1084567 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @05:27AM (#54049529)

          But it's the only thing we can think of to employ Americans.

          The problem in my view (as a non-american) with the military spending is that the military then has to be used to justify the gigantic cost of it. It creates a situation in which you pretty much have to be involved in perpetual conflicts because otherwise having 10 aircraft carrier groups, hundreds of bases outside the US and other tools designed to project insane amounts of force anywhere on the globe cannot be justified. Orwell had a point about this:

          The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed. A Floating Fortress, for example, has locked up in it the labour that would build several hundred cargo-ships. Ultimately it is scrapped as obsolete, never having brought any material benefit to anybody, and with further enormous labours another Floating Fortress is built. In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population. In practice the needs of the population are always underestimated, with the result that there is a chronic shortage of half the necessities of life; but this is looked on as an advantage. It is deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups somewhere near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity increases the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one group and another.

    • Trump understands (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @12:08AM (#54048789) Homepage Journal

      Fucking Trump, trying to bring back manufacturing when he doesn't understand the concept of "robot".

      Perhaps, but I'm pretty sure he understands the concept of unemployment.

      In your opinion, is supercomputing more important than bringing back jobs?

      What's your stance on H1B then?

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Thursday March 16, 2017 @08:56AM (#54050127) Homepage Journal

        Supercomputing WILL bring back jobs! Far more so than manual labour that will be quickly automated away.

        Supercomputing is how you develop new materials, new drugs, new high end manufacturing. All the good jobs are in services now, not labour that a machine could do if it were only very slightly cheaper than a human.

        That's what the Chinese recognize and why they will overtake the US if things don't change. You can't hang on to the jobs of the past, you have to adapt and change with the times and invest in your future. China is absolutely brutal about advancement and putting the good of the country before individuals who want to keep living their same lifestyle. The US doesn't need to go that far, but it can't be too luddite about it either.

    • What does my diet have to do with this issue?
    • Instead of billions on a stupid wall, invest billions in supercomputing tech. Hell, invest billions in semiconductor tech, cuz China is trying to take the lead in semiconductors big time.

      Fucking Trump, trying to bring back manufacturing when he doesn't understand the concept of "robot".

      I think it's too late to look at being ahead. The USA does not have exclusivity on intelligence, but the USA handicaps itself by having exhorbitantly high cost "for profit" universities. The pentium was designed in Israel, much of your supertech stuff is being done in Asia, or India or Israel.
      The number of university grads in the states as a percentage of the population is 15 percent less than most of the industrialized world. Canada, per capitia, has 15% more grads than the USA. Its because we say "low c

  • by DoktorMidnight ( 3469647 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @09:34PM (#54048117)
    "Mr. President we must not allow a mineshaft gap!"
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @09:36PM (#54048129)
    Alternatively, you could stop spying on everything everyone does, and use some of that money to cover your new toys.

    Out here in the real world, we're about done writing blank checks for "national security" and "them terrists". No one would ever notice if you cut your mission in half.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Out here in the real world, we're about done writing blank checks for "national security" and "them terrists".

      Evidently not, given that the US President is pushing for a massive _increase_ in defense spending.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "We have to spend more money on this project or we will all die"

  • by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @09:57PM (#54048237) Homepage Journal
    if your strength relies upon the weakness of others, then it isn't really strength. I know, "without light there is no dark" "without up there is no down" "without weakness there is no strength" - no. China is just 1 country, and has 6x the number of people. There are plenty of other countries that are in poor shape, if we (in the US) really feel we need to be "superior" to someone else. Until then, this kind of crap is a waste of tax dollars, under the thinly veiled cover of nationalism
    • by Rozzin ( 9910 )

      if your strength relies upon the weakness of others, then it isn't really strength. I know, "without light there is no dark" "without up there is no down" "without weakness there is no strength" - no. China is just 1 country, and has 6x the number of people. There are plenty of other countries that are in poor shape, if we (in the US) really feel we need to be "superior" to someone else. Until then, this kind of crap is a waste of tax dollars, under the thinly veiled cover of nationalism

      Except it's not abou

      • by dAzED1 ( 33635 )
        China is nearly half a century behind us in military tech. And currently, their budget is a quarter that of the US. I'm not exactly sure what you think they're going to do to us in this or the next generation, but by the time they actually catch up - even if we merely matched their budget - we'd be back to where we were 50 years ago with Russia - neither defensively able to counter the other's offensive capabilities, thus "mutually assured destruction" being the deterrent. On the other hand, maybe the US
        • by Rozzin ( 9910 )

          I'm not exactly sure what you think they're going to do to us in this or the next generation,

          You seem to have mistaken me for one of the people in the article. I was merely explaining to article to someone who had misunderstood it (actually, a apparently a number of people who had misunderstood it--seeing as the mistaken comment was highly rated).

          I have not done my own analysis of Chinese vs. US capabilities, and even if I had it wouldn't have been based on whatever these people supposedly saw at the confer

  • At risk? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zemran ( 3101 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @10:04PM (#54048277) Homepage Journal
    US incompetence is portrayed as being a victim. As if China is a threat because the US has not done anything for decades. China deserves respect for getting their fingers out of their arses while the US is too busy wasting its money invading innocent counties. If we are to talk about risk discuss the real problem if we are talking about Chinese advances have the balls to show some respect.
    • It was more desperation than genius. The CPC realized that their survival was at stake when the PLA refused to remove the protesters out of Tienanmen Square because they had not been paid in a year. There had long been an implied relationship between the CPC and the Chinese people in that their antics would be tolerated only as long as a majority of the people could be fed.
  • I plan to snatch back the leadership back by assembling a few millions of raspberry pi. YEAH!
  • Since Donald Trump thinks China is the problem, claiming a lack of fund is going to let China overtake US seems a very good strategy to get funds.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Shhh, dont rock the boat. At least let Trump finish building the wall to keep the Americans in before telling them how much better the rest of the world is.

  • All non-military, non-entitlement budget entries are going to be dramatically slashed in the current president's upcoming budget.

  • "HPC leadership" by itself is pointless. China owning big computers doesn't put the USA at risk. It's what they do with them that matters, and whatever *that* is, you likely won't neutralize it just by building even bigger computers in the USA.

    These HPC people are also glossing over the issue that for most important problems, parallelizing over commodity CPUs connected by commodity networks (i.e. the cloud) is far more cost-effective than the "big iron" shared-memory HPC systems, and via Google, Amazon and

    • These HPC people are also glossing over the issue that for most important problems, parallelizing over commodity CPUs connected by commodity networks (i.e. the cloud) is far more cost-effective than the "big iron" shared-memory HPC systems,

      Nope there's a ton inaccurate about that. Firstly, supercomputers haven't been shared memory for decades. They're built with commodity (usually) CPUs with phenomenally expensive interconnect hardware. Sometimes expensive off the shelf, sometimes proprietary. Occasionall

  • The article, accurately summarized and absent any clickbait titles: "They have a faster supercomputer than we do. That means they are ranked higher, and are faster than ours. We want the fastest supercomputers. Whoever has the fastest supercomputer can solve all our problems, but that person only. It should be us, so we need the fastest supercomputer."
  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @03:04AM (#54049189)

    "Build better bridges".

    Not really. The better we've become at engineering, the more we cut the bridge designs from "massively overbuilt, in such a way as to endure they never fall apart" to replace them with "barely overbuilt, in such a way as the first storm slightly out of the overage tolerance we've allowed will cause everything to be destroyed".

    Seems stupid.

    Rather than trying to figure out how to cut our tolerances as close to the bone as possible, we should probably go back to massively overbuilding things -- and then use our knowledge of tolerances to *ensure* they are massively overbuilt.

    If we did that, we wouldn't have things like the 2007 I-35W bridge collapse happening. The bridges might sink into the ground under their own weight, but they wouldn't be collapsing.

    • The flip side of that coin is that if you overbuild the bridges, you may only be able to afford to fix half of them.
      • The flip side of that coin is that if you overbuild the bridges, you may only be able to afford to fix half of them.

        The flip side of that is that there are Roman aqueducts still in service, because the Romans overbuilt as well. So you won't *need* to fix the other half of them.

  • That is what happens when you educate foreign nationals in your universities and make all of your stuff in their country.
  • Capitalists spent the better part of a half-century driving out skills based work
    Not surprisingly, hundreds of thousands of highly educated people decided to go home with their training after their individual H1-B indentures expired and compete with their old bosses
    With EVERY product being offshored, the design work of man-millennia has become Chinese property
    Thank you very much Capitalists, for making America wilt
    The next generation of 'enemies' will now have superior tech to ours...and will win wars, unli
  • What do you expect, when you outsource hi-tech and manufacturing? Of course they are going to surpass you someday.
  • Tell him that you need all these new supercomputers to make his tweets the bestest, and most read. If that doesn't get you a $10B or so then nothing will.

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