In June 1996, China announced the Yinhe (Galaxy)-3, a new high-performance supercomputer developed by its military. The Yinhe-3 has a 13,000 MTOPS capability, and is equipped with an expandable multiple processor parallel system. The Yinhe-3 is 10 times more powerful than the earlier Yinhe-2, but only one-sixth the size.
China has also developed the Yinhe Super-Simulation Computer (YHSSC), successor to the Yinhe All-Digital Simulation Computer System Type-2 (YH-FZ2). The YHSSC has been used by the China Aerospace Corporation (CASC) for simulations to improve its rocket systems; by the Southwest Research Engineering and Design Academy (First Academy) to design the Qinshan-2 power reactor; and by the China Aviation Industries Corporation (AVIC) to develop a next-generation unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The Yinhe-3, capable of performing 13 billion calculations per second, was touted by state-run media as a breakthrough for China’s military and computer industry.
Supercomputers can help in weather forecasting but also may be used to test nuclear weapons, build more accurate missiles and develop code-breaking technology.
The National Defense Science and Technology University has developed software for the black, refrigerator-size computer for weather forecasting, earthquake research and other scientific study, the Xinhua media agency said.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told Congress that investigators were checking whether supercomputers sold to private Chinese companies may have been used for nuclear weapons testing. China has 46 American supercomputers according to one senator’s estimate.
The U.S. Justice Department was looking into one sale, to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the nation’s top research institute, that may have violated U.S. export rules. Licenses are required for military-related sales of computers capable of at least 2 billion calculations per second.
China has denied any misuse of U.S. supercomputers, saying they have been used for civilian purposes such as weather forecasting.