China is rapidly loading up on its supercomputers.
According to a BBC News report, the country has nearly tripled its amount of supercomputers. Based on the biannual Top500 list of supercomputers, China now has 109 high-performance computing (HPC) systems, which marks a whopping 196 percent increase from just over three years ago.
In addition, China scored the top supercomputer of them all, the Tianhe-2, which was ranked first on the Top500 for the sixth straight time. Created by China's National University of Defense Technology, the Tianhe-2 can generate a mind-numbing 33.86 quadrillion calculations per second, easily making it the most sophisticated supercomputer in the world.
In comparison, the United States' number of supercomputers has suffered a slide. Although the U.S. counts 200 supercomputers in the Top500, that's its lowest number since the list began being compiled back in 1993, according to the BBC.
Rajnish Arora, vice president of computing research firm IDC Asia Pacific, told the BBC that China's advancement with supercomputers is a global sign of the times.
"When China started off appearing on the center stage of the global economy in the '80s and '90s, it was predominately a manufacturing hub," he told the BBC. "All the IP or design work would happen in Europe or the U.S. and the companies would just send manufacturing or production jobs to China. Now as these companies become bigger, they want to invest in technical research capabilities, so that they can create a lot more innovation and do basic design and engineering work."
David Schibeci, from the Pawsey Supercomputing Center in Western Australia, told the BBC: "Nations like China have a great opportunity to take a leading role in the HPC (high-performance computing) space but it's important that they focus on research support and up-skilling of staff rather than just raw numbers for the Top500."