Construction has begun on China's third National Supercomputing Center (NSCC), located at Hunan University in Changsha. A groundbreaking ceremony for the bold design was held on Sunday 28th November. Once completed, the NSCC will house the world's fastest supercomputer the Tianhe-1A, capable of handling one quadrillion computing operations per second. The five storey building will house an academic lecture hall, seminar rooms, academic forums, a coffee shop and restaurant alongside advanced research and development facilities.
China is widely respected for its forward-thinking attitude to advanced technology, and it is hoped that the new centre will provide a platform for Hunan Province to assert itself in this sector, with Xu Shousheng, provincial governor of Hunan, explaining: “The setting up of the NSCC in Changsha will raise the innovative level of Hunan Province and of central China.”
On completion, the Supercomputing Center will be used for scientific research, biological pharmaceuticals, animation design and weather forecasting, among other technological processes. Hunan University is one of the oldest universities in China, with its legacy stretching back to the Song Dynasty over 1,030 years ago.
Newly released renderings of the building show a modern cylindrical form set in the midst of a densely wooded area with a communal plaza marking the entranceway. The architectural design has been subject to critical discussions on multiple blogs since the images surfaced two days ago, with some concerned that the designs concentrate on 'style over substance'. The project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2011.