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South Korea to build an exascale supercomputer running local CPUs by 2030

Hopes to start selling ‘em too, because China and Japan are heading the same direction and aren’t good at sharing

South Korea today announced a National Ultra High Performance Computing Innovation Strategy that aims to have the company build an exascale supercomputer by 2030, using plenty of home-grown parts.

The nation’s Ministry of Science and ICT noted that South Korea’s gruntiest super – the 570,020 core “Nurion” at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information – is ranked a mere 21 on the Top 500 list of Earth’s mightiest data-crunchers. The new Strategy calls for it to be replaced by a more powerful machine in 2023 and then again 2028.

The Strategy isn’t just about building machines. South Korea also wants to get better at building components and has picked processors, platform technology and data-intensive tech as development priorities.

Building the new supers and associated tech is seen as essential to give local companies the resources they need to compete. One element of the Strategy is therefore the creation of a “National Super High Performance Computing Joint Utilization Council” to assign resources to users felt to have the most pressing need for lots of processing power

China is another reason for the strategy: it’s building supers fast and is less inclined to share them that in the past. Japan’s also keen on supers and is home to many rivals for South Korea’s biggest firms.

The Strategy also expresses the hope that by building homebrew supers, South Korea could grow an new industry selling them to all comers. Which might be a nice challenge to the reasonably cosy group of players in the Super caper or could see South Korea replicate its preference for home-grown tech, as evidenced by the success of Naver and Hangul, a Google-like web giant and word processor respectively, both of which enjoy market domestic share rather larger than that won by challengers to dominant tech giants in other nations. ®

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