Computer Race


Back in the glory daze of the Cold War, the US and the Soviets engaged in an arms race and a space race – and even a “peace race” according to the Soviet Ambassador in Dr. Strangelove.

Now, today, it’s game on between the US and the Chinese in terms of a computer race. Expect Americans to feel Sputnik’d and to speak of a “digital gap” or a “processing gap.”

China is about to introduce, by 2020, the Tianhe-3, the world’s first supercomputer that is “exascale,” capable of making a quintillion calculations per second (1 followed by 18 zeros).

This Tianhe-3 should probably give China an edge in the centuries old struggle for world power. Armies, navies and even air forces are becoming obsolete as military force is proving to be ineffective – and as managing information and communication become critical to any government’s sovereignty and autonomy.

This coming month, March 20, marks the 14th Anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. And what a failure it has been: more than half a million people have been killed in the ensuing conflicts, with millions displaced. And Islamic fundamentalist groups run large portions of Iraq.

The US has an embassy in Baghdad the size of the Vatican, largely vacant, and no Ramstein-on-the-Euphrates military bases, as previously fanticized by the neocon circle jerk.

Actually, Iran has more pull in Iraq than the US does. Similar failures are noted in Libya and Afghanistan. Trillions wasted. All this says something about the ultimate impotency of military force in this day and age.

It will be interesting to see how the US will attempt to catch up. A “computer gap” will be invoked.

For people nostalgic for the Cold War, these will be golden years.

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