China’s supercomputer shakes the Pentagon
Published Nov 14, 2010 10:04 PM
Sixty-one years after the Chinese Revolution’s triumph, the
People’s Republic of China has created the world’s fastest
According to University of Tennessee Professor Jack Dongarra, China’s
Tianhe-1A supercomputer is 47 percent faster than the speediest U.S.
supercomputer. Tianhe, which means “Milky Way” in Chinese, is
faster than 175,000 laptops. (www.metro.co.uk)
Supercomputers can solve complex scientific problems, including medical
research and weather forecasting, to help people.
The U.S. military-industrial complex uses them to simulate detonations of
The fastest U.S. supercomputer, the XT5 Jaguar, is located at the Oak Ridge
National Laboratory in Tennessee. This facility was part of the Manhattan
Project, which made atom bombs that killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese,
Korean and Chinese people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Western European rulers took hold of Chinese inventions like gunpowder and the
compass and used them to conduct the African Holocaust — the
trans-Atlantic slave trade — and to exterminate Native peoples in the
Americas. Karl Marx showed how the capitalist world market was born in
“blood and dirt” through these great crimes.
Britain invaded China in 1841 because the Chinese stopped importing opium from
British capitalists. Over a century of misery and humiliation followed, with
millions of Chinese people killed. Just as there were signs forbidding Black
people from many places in apartheid-era United States and South Africa, a
“No dogs or Chinese allowed” sign was erected in a Shanghai
A triumph of socialist planning
The Chinese Revolution changed all that. Mao Zedong declared “China has
stood up” on Oct. 1, 1949.
In the last 30 years, however, China has enmeshed itself with the capitalist
world market. The Taiwanese corporation Foxconn, the world’s largest
manufacturer of electronic components, employs 420,000 workers in Shenzhen
But Foxconn and other bosses had nothing to do with the world’s fastest
supercomputer. It was the Chinese socialist state that built Tianhe-1A.
Despite capitalist inroads and the restructuring of state-owned industry,
billions of dollars were allocated by the socialist state to build this
computer. Socialist economic planning was responsible for this technological
Capitalist India has hundreds of thousands of talented computer scientists.
Bangalore, India, is headquarters for Wipro, which has 112,000 workers. Yet
Wipro and other capitalist outfits in India haven’t built the fastest
The Soviet Union astonished the world by launching Sputnik, the first
satellite, in 1957 on the 40th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. This
vivid example of the power of centralized socialist planning also alarmed the
war makers in the Pentagon, whose early rockets were exploding on their launch
China still developing, advancing
While it produced more than 500 million tons of steel in 2009 and made more
cars than the U.S. did, China is still a developing country. In many areas it
still has to catch up with developed capitalist countries — one of the
great problems facing socialist revolutions that triumph in countries
impoverished by centuries of colonialism and imperialism. The response of
China’s leaders to the need for modern technology has been to invite in
foreign capital, but many inside China are deeply concerned about the growing
However, in the last few years China has forged ahead in science and
technology, meaning it has to rely less on hostile capitalist forces as it
builds up its economy. At the same time, mass protests for better wages and
working conditions have intensified.
A series of pro-working-class measures have been passed. Pensions were given to
140 million migrant workers in 2007. The same year a health care act was passed
that will extend medical insurance to virtually everybody.
Chinese trade unions forced McDonald’s and Wal-Mart to sign contracts.
What an example this is to 1.8 million workers in the U.S. who are exploited by
these two corporate monsters. China-bashing won’t bring these workers
Building the world’s fastest supercomputer shows that China has the
wherewithal to strengthen its development toward a socialist economy. Like
Sputnik, the Tianhe-1A supercomputer is a victory against Wall Street and its
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