US nuclear fears block Intel China supercomputer update

The US government has refused to let Intel help China update the world’s biggest supercomputer.

Intel applied for a licence to export tens of thousands of chips to update the Tianhe-2 computer.

The Department of Commerce refused, saying it was concerned about nuclear research being done with the machine.

‘In compliance’

In a notice published online the US Department of Commerce said it refused Intel’s application to export the chips for Tianhe-2 and three other Chinese supercomputers because the machines were being used for « nuclear explosive activities ». The relevant section of US export regulations reveals that this covers technologies used in the « design, development or fabrication » of nuclear weapons.

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