U.S. Targets China’s Supercomputing Push With New Export Restrictions



Kate O’Keeffe | The Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—The Commerce Department is taking aim at China’s supercomputing push with new export restrictions that effectively cut five major Chinese developers of next-generation high-performance computing off from U.S. technology.

The entities—Sugon of Beijing and three of its affiliates as well as the Wuxi Jiangnan Institute of Computing Technology—have been determined “to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States,” according to a Commerce Department rule made public Friday.

The Chinese entities are at the heart of Beijing’s effort to develop the country’s first exascale computer, a next-generation supercomputer that would be capable of doing one quintillion—or one billion billion—calculations per second. Supercomputing is integral to the development of nuclear weapons, encryption, missile defense and other systems, and the U.S. and China are competing for dominance in the field.

“Sugon has publicly acknowledged a variety of military end uses and end users of its high-performance computers,” the Commerce Department rule says, adding that Wuxi Jiangnan is owned by the 56th Research Institute of the General Staff of China’s People’s Liberation Army and has a mission to support China’s military modernization.

The entity listing will affect a variety of U.S. technology companies that do business with Sugon, including chip makers AMD, Intel and Nvidia .

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