Supercomputer Tianhe-1A shut down due to Tianjin blasts

Tianjin, China China Central Television (CCTV) – China has shut down supercomputer Tianhe-1A due to the blasts in Tianjin Wednesday night.

Tianhe-1A, located at the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin, is just some three kilometers away from the blast center. The shock waves from the blast shattered windows at the center.

“This is the main building of our center. The shock waves came from the east and this building locates on the west side of another two buildings, so the windows on the first floor were not affected. But the windows on the street side and above the second floor were mostly broken. The door to the building was also destroyed,” said Liu Guangming, director of the center.

Protected by a reinforced computer room, the supercomputer and its database remain intact. And it was still running smoothly immediately after the blast, according to the center’s staff.

“The surrounding walls, ceiling and floor of the computer room were reinforced, so it did not collapse, even the ceiling did not fall down. So it is strong as a whole. After the second explosion, we reached here and found the machine was still running. But for security concern, we shut it down,” said Liu Guangming, director of the center.

The power and cold stations at the center were destroyed the most.

The center is mainly responsible for providing e-government service in the Binhai District, supercomputing and big data technology support for research institutes.

“The supercomputer is mainly used for scientific research. People are doing some theoretical research and result analysis with it. After we restart it, they can continue the simulation experiment. We have tried to minimize the impact,” said Liu.

Expert assessment shows that the center is still suitable for running and staffs at the center have started to clear up the debris left by the explosions.

“After the clearing up, we will repair the outer walls of the power and cold stations. Power supply is expected to restore on Friday. We will also resume the e-government system, because local authorities need this platform to issue news and information. Then we plan to start the Tianhe-1A and this work is expected to be completed on Friday night or Saturday,” said Liu.

Two explosions ripped through a warehouse where dangerous chemicals were stored in north China’s Tianjin City late Wednesday night. The blasts have killed 56 people and injured 721 others as of Friday according to local authorities.

Tianhe-1A, which can perform 2.57 quadrillion computing operations per second, was recognized as the world’s fastest computing system in 2010, according to a biannual Top 500 supercomputer list.

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