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China to build national computing grid

Chip giant Intel teams with China's Ministry of Education to build a shared supercomputer on a network linking 10 universities.

By 2006, 100 of China's universities will be linked by a network that will combine their computing power to create a shared supercomputer.

Chip giant Intel Wednesday teamed with China's Ministry of Education to build a national computing grid--a network of computers harnessed to work together.

When the grid is completed, the MOE expects it to have performance of more than 15 teraflops, or trillions of calculations per second, making it one of the world's most powerful high-performance computing grids, according to a statement from Intel.

Intel will work with server vendors starting this year to provide the schools with computers equipped with the chipmaker's Itanium 2 processors.

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The grid will be used for work in life sciences, the petroleum industry, earthquake research and commercial financial projects.

It will also be used to help power the "Digital Olympics" initiative, to support the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The universities linked to the grid will be connected by the high-speed Internet-based China Education and Research Network.

The project follows announcements from Intel about joint supercomputer projects in China. Rival chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices is also working with institutions in the country to develop powerful computers.

CNET Asia staff reported from Singapore.