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China unveils world's fastest supercomputer

The supercomputer Tianhe-2, or Milky Way, which is capable of operating as fast as 33.86 petaflops per second. The supercomputer Tianhe-2, or Milky Way, which is capable of operating as fast as 33.86 petaflops per second.

(CNN/CCTV) - The world's fastest supercomputer will be put into use in big projects later this year, its Chinese designer has said.

The supercomputer Tianhe-2, or Milky Way, which is capable of operating as fast as 33.86 petaflops per second, was ranked on Monday as the world's fastest computing system by TOP500, a project ranking the 500 most powerful computer systems in the world.

It overtook Titan, installed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is now ranked No. 2 with a performance of 17.59 petaflops per second.

Tianhe-2 marks China's return to the No. 1 position of the TOP500 list since November 2010, when Tianhe-1A was the top system. Tianhe-1A is now the No. 10 system on the list.

Developed by China's National University of Defense Technology in central China's city of Changsha and costing 100 million U.S. dollars, Tianhe-2 is expected to become operational later this year, according to its designers.

Li Nan, deputy head of the Tianhe-2 Project, said the supercomputer will be mainly used in big projects like developing airplanes, building nuclear power plants, and oil exploration.

"It takes a computer to perform simulations in the big scientific projects like manned space flight and lunar exploration program. As the simulation becomes more complex, more powerful computing power is needed. So many big projects now cannot operate without supercomputers," Li said.

He said complex projects like car designing used to take years; but supercomputers can complete the job in a fraction of the time.

"Previously, it would take two to three years to design a new car with the traditional methods. Now, with the auxiliary design by such a high performance computer, it will take as little as three months to roll out a new car model. So you can see that the introduction of new types of cars has become very quick. It used to take two to three years to upgrade a car, but now new generation cars can be seen in half a year. Very quick," Li said.

Copyright 2013 CCTV via CNN. All rights reserved.