Top500.org, June 13, the supply chain geopolitics

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The supercomputers ranking (Top500.org) of June has just been released and we will proceed to the Supply Chain geopolitics analysis of the Top10 ranking. The Supply Chain analysis relies on the industrial components and organisations studies in the field of procurement, manufacturing and technological performance (Peak performance, architecture, …) . The geopolitics lighting on the subject will provide the value added to the point of view of nations (nations building).

The Top500 of June 13 is available at this address: http://top500.org/lists/2013/06/ and we will begin with some statistics. Let’s first notice that the first place is owned by a China supercomputer from the National University of Defense Technology.  Let’s also notice that there are five US computers in the Top 10, and as we remember in 2004, when we also followed the Top500.org ranking, there is always a vast majority of US computers in the ranking.

If we made the procurement analysis of the Chinese supercomputer which desserve the first place, we notice that the architecture of the system is a chinese manufacturing. This means that China succeeded to ride the Supply Chain procurement and manufacturing up to the microprocessor, a USA provided part, the intel Xeon microprocessor. But we know that China has already a microprocessor industry meaning that in ten years, the supercomputer will be a complete chinese technology.

If we examine the original providers of the top 10, we notice that seven of the supercomputers are provided by USA suppliers (Cray, IBM, Dell) and the others are Japanese (Fujitsu) or Chinese (NUDT).

Now let’s examine the European supercomputer in the top ten which are german at the 7th and 9th place. The 7th place is an IBM provided computer, this mean that it was designed, built, assemblated, tested in USA before being sold to European countries. The 9th place is also an IBM provided supercomputer.

The first french provided supercomputer is at the 15th place, a Bull technology based on USA electronic components providers (Microprocessors, chips, …) and we notice at the 11th place another french supercomputer from the Total company provided by SGI, a USA company.

Now let’s examine why Europe is still buying USA technology ten years after having entered in the ranking with companies like Bull.

We know that in 2007, the main issue to produce artificial intelligence automates (Supercomputer, Flying drones, …) is the huge amount of data that comes from the sensors aimed at orientation, vision, …, or the huge amount of data transiting the supercomputer nodes. This huge amount of data is something that is count in Gigabyte per seconds (Gb/s), and this is only in 2012 that we saw in commercial electronic shops foreign motherboard that could process gigabyte of information per second. This means that now in 2013, France does not build long range drones, because in 2007 France was not able to master IT hardware technology behind the server, the brain of the drone. And we explain it by the fact that France did not succeed in riding the supply chain up to the microprocessor. France stayed at the system assemblier level and stopped its progress at the electronic motherboard production, and this since 2004, where the situation was approximately the same as today.

We have just seen the strategical interests of USA for Supercomputer technology, interests that are implemented since the beginning of 1980’s, and that today lead to the USA domination in the field of Information technology, in the field of the software (Google, Facebook, Twitter), but also in the field of the hardware (Dell, IBM, Cray, SGI, …). The investment return for USA are today some cash that comes from all the world by selling electronic component world wide but not only. There is also a cultural influence served by software such as Google, Twitter or Facebook that lead to consolidation of USA nation and its powerfull presence world wide. We shall also mention the competitive advantage of the mastering of IT technology in the field of business but also in the field of military power.

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