US restricts 7 Chinese supercomputing entities over national security concerns

The restrictions come because of worries supercomputers could be used in the development of weapons of mass destruction and more.

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The TaihuLight supercomputer at the National Supercomputer Center in Wuxi.

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The United States is expanding its list of restricted companies and government labs whose supercomputing abilities are "used by China's military actors, its destabilizing military modernization efforts, and/or weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs," the US Commerce Department said in a statement Thursday.

Inclusion on the Entity List, as it's called, means these groups have to apply for licenses from the Commerce Department if they want to get goods from US suppliers, Reuters noted.

"Supercomputing capabilities are vital for the development of many -- perhaps almost all -- modern weapons and national security systems, such as nuclear weapons and hypersonic weapons," Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

The additions to the list are: the Tianjin Phytium Information Technology Shanghai High-Performance Integrated Circuit Design Center, Sunway Microelectronics, the National Supercomputing Center Jinan, the National Supercomputing Center Shenzhen, the National Supercomputing Center Wuxi, and the National Supercomputing Center Zhengzhou.

The Chinese Embassy In Washington, DC, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Supercomputers are used for physics simulations that model nuclear weapons explosions. The US has spent billions of dollars on supercomputers designed to support the country's nuclear weapons stockpile.