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Russian president critical of stalled IT advancement

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev criticized his country's lack of progress in developing supercomputer technology during a speech to the nation's Security Council late last month.

Medvedev, noting that 476 out of the 500 systems on the Top500 list of the world's largest supercomputers were manufactured in the U.S., said that “in general, our situation is very difficult.”

He was clear about whom he blames: Russia's IT industry.

“A huge number of entrepreneurs, not to mention officials, do not know what supercomputers are. For them, it is an exotic type of those machines that were created in the 1920s to catch up and overtake America,” Medvedev said.

He noted that whereas most Western countries use supercomputers to design products like aircraft, most Russian product designers still use pencil and paper. “Only a digital approach can have a breakthrough effect [and] lead to dramatic improvements in quality,” he said.

IDC analyst Earl Joseph noted that there are pockets of commercial supercomputer development by Russian companies. Moscow-based T-Platforms, for example, is offering a high-performance supercomputer built with commodity hardware bundled with a variety of scientific and engineering services.

This version of the story originally appeared in Computerworld 's print edition.

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