After coming up with its own DVD-like standard, China has set for itself the goal of selling its own CPU design to the world, but it might take 20 years before Chinese processor technology can match the best stuff on the market – currently produced by western companies like Intel, AMD and ARM. The current Chinese CPU, codenamed Loongson (aka GodSon) is set to power the Dawning 6000, a Chinese supercomputer .
“just like a country’s industry cannot always depend on foreign steel and oil, China’s information industry needs its own CPU” says Hu Weiwu, who leads the development of the Loongson.
This is an ambitious goal, but this is also an uphill battle. The barrier of entry is huge, and Intel is a formidable foe, both in terms of CPU designs, and chip manufacturing. However, within a 20-year span, anything can happen, and the fact that a relatively small company like AMD can fight Intel effectively shows that with the right people (and an X86 license), it’s possible.
But China needs a truly efficient design, because if people are “forced” to use a homegrown design for the sake of national pride, that will lead to nothing but a loss in competitiveness (for themselves), and that’s a slippery path. That said, China “produces” 500,000 engineers a year, so the rest of the world probably take this very seriously. [PeopleDaily via Technologyreview]