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.