Concern about China’s use of supercomputers in “nuclear explosive activities” has prompted the United States government to bar Intel from selling microprocessors to Chinese institutions that are building supercomputers. Intel was notified by the Department of Commerce back in August that it would need an export license to ship its Xeon and Xeon Phi parts, and now that has evolved into a complete ban.
U.S. government agencies have stopped Intel from selling microprocessors for China’s supercomputers, apparently reflecting concern about their use in nuclear tests. In February, four supercomputing institutions in China were placed on a U.S. government list that effectively bans them from receiving certain U.S. exports. The four institutions, which include China’s National University of Defense Technology, have been involved in building Tianhe-2, the world’s fastest supercomputer, and Tianhe-1A. The two supercomputers have been allegedly used for ”nuclear explosive activities,” according to a notice posted by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Back in August, the U.S. Department of Commerce notified Intel that it would need an export license to ship its Xeon and Xeon Phi parts, the company said on Friday. These chips were to be used in supercomputing projects with Intel customer Inspur, a Chinese server and supercomputing provider.