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Nuclear worries stop Intel from selling chips to Chinese supercomputers

Nuclear worries stop Intel from selling chips to Chinese supercomputers 核威胁阻碍英特尔向中国超级计算机出售芯片.jpg 

Intel and Nvidia have been blocked from selling chips to four Chinese supercomputer centers because the U.S. government has determined those computers are used for "nuclear explosive activities."

由于美国认定中国超级计算机用于“核试验活动”,英特尔和英伟达被禁止向中国超级计算机中心出售芯片。

 

TianHe-1A and TianHe-2 are among the world’s fastest supercomputers. They both run almost entirely on Xeon processors made by Intel. TianHe-1A also uses chips from Nvidia. But now neither Intel nor Nvidia may sell their chips to four institutions in China that run these colossal machines.

天河1号和天河2号作为世界上最快的超级计算机,它们几乎全部运行英特尔生产的志强处理器。天河1号也运用了来自英伟达的芯片。然而,现在英特尔和英伟达都被禁止向运行巨型计算机的四家中国机构出售芯片。

 

The U.S. government has concluded that four Chinese supercomputing centers — including one at the National University of Defense Technology in Changsha City — were "acting contrary to the national security… interests of the United States."

美国政府推断中国的四个超级计算机中心(包括其中一个位于长沙的国防科技大学)威胁到了美国的国家安全利益。


Supercomputers are typically used for predicting scenarios because of their incredible power to crunch numbers. They can create precise models of complex environments, such as simulating weather — or nuclear explosions.

超级计算机主要用于场景预测,因为其具有强大的数据处理能力,还能对复杂的环境建立精确的模型,比如模拟天气或者核爆试验。

 

In its new rule, the U.S. Department of Commerce says "the TianHe-1A and TianHe-2 supercomputers are believed to be used in nuclear explosive activities." The agency would not say how it came to that conclusion.

在新的法律中,美国商务部认为“天河1号和天河2号被用于核爆试验”,却未说明是如何得出该结论。

 

China has an estimated 250 nuclear warheads, compared to the United States’ 1,642 and Russia’s 1,643. The agency now requires any American company to first apply for a special permit before exporting any products to these supercomputing centers.

据估计,中国拥有250枚核弹头,相比而言,美国和俄罗斯拥有的核弹头数量为1642枚和1643枚。美国商务部要求美国公司要先申请特别许可,才能向中国超级计算机中心出售产品。

 

In reality, any products powering those supercomputers "would almost certainly mean a denial," said Kevin Wolf, assistant secretary of commerce for the agency’s Bureau of Industry and Security. The new federal rule was made official in February, but news media did not learn of it until this week.

事实上,任何想要为那些超级计算机提供支持的产品,“几乎都是不可能的”,美国商务部工业安全局副局长Kevin Wolf说道。新的联邦法律二月已经出台,只是新闻媒体直到本周才关注到。

 

Intel (INTC, Tech30) declined to comment in detail, but a spokesman said the company remains in compliance with U.S. laws. Nvidia (NVDA, Tech30) declined to comment. It’s unclear what the effect of these lost sales could have on either company, if any.

英特尔拒绝对细节作出评价,但是一位发言人称该公司始终遵守美国法律。英伟达同样拒绝评论。目前尚不清楚该禁售会对这两家公司造成哪些影响。

 

TianHe-2 already houses 32,000 Intel Xeon E5 chips, worth roughly $48 million at retail prices. But Intel and Nvidia may still sell their high-power computer chips elsewhere in China.

天河2号已经安装了3.2万枚英特尔志强E5芯片,按零售价格计算,大约价值4800万美元。但英特尔和英伟达仍可将其高性能计算机芯片出售到中国的其他地方。

 

It’s possible these four Chinese supercomputing centers could buy the chips through third parties anyway. The Commerce Department noted that would be illegal, however.

四家中国超级计算机中心还可以通过别的第三方机构购买这些芯片,然而,美国商务部也将其视为非法。

2016-06-24

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