A Trip to China and A Top500 Award for Quadwire

This week’s Lightspeed post comes from guest blogger Tony Pearson, Finisar’s Director of Product Marketing.

A “lightspeed” visit to China! It was a short journey of only 3 days, with two halves and a tale of two cities, separated by a virtual “Great Wall”. The first half: a visit to Shanghai, both the city and one of the jewels in the Finisar homegrown facility treasury. The second: to Tianjin (approx. 150km from Beijing) to visit Dawning Information Industry Company Ltd. and their Nebulae Supercomputer installation. The virtual “Great Wall” I refer to was simply the barrier thrown up by Mother Nature to domestic flight schedules – during rainy season in Beijing we are reminded that no matter how fast our communication solutions become…she’s still the boss! I’ll focus on two halves and the cities for this post, but I’m always happy to recount my travel stories to the interested in a future blog post.

Let me begin with an event that I was honored to attend at the Dawning manufacturing facility in June for those companies, including Finisar, who helped enable the world’s #2 supercomputer “Nebulae” as ranked by the 35th edition of the Top 500 supercomputer list. The event celebrated a milestone for Dawning as the #1 Supercomputer solution vendor in China and #2 in the world in terms of performance as ranked by the Top 500. Dawning further honored Finisar with a commemorative award for participation in Nebulae.

The Nebulae Supercomputer was at the center of the celebration with the event including a tour of Nebulae itself. The exciting thing for me, personally, was to see a supercomputer with over 120 server racks connected using Quadwire™ Active Optical Cables. This excitement only perhaps topped by the fact that these cables were designed and manufactured by Finisar at the very facility I visited the previous day.

Although not my first visit to China, this was my first visit to Shanghai and the Finisar Shanghai R&D and Manufacturing facility. Shanghai is truly a city in the fast lane, quite literally with some of the best kept and most functional highways I’ve seen in the world. With all eyes currently on the World Expo site located on the Huang Pu River running through the heart of downtown, this is a city in the same mold as Singapore, New York, London or Hong Kong, in my opinion, with a very cosmopolitan feel and population. With an infectious air of both maturity and optimism, this is a city that makes you want to keep coming back. The same is true of the Finisar Shanghai team and site in its newer location with a mix of both locally and globally educated talent, with a vast wealth of experience in the fiber optics business.

While this trip was focused on the high tech: high tech cities, high tech facilities, high tech computer solutions and high tech fiber optics, the real story here for me was about two Laws of Nature: “Bandwidth x Distance” limits combined with our relentless need for more information, pushing fiber solutions over longer distances now to our homes and to the Supercomputer in its most recent incarnation. And, then of course Mother Nature, who stamped her laws on my ability to move around China if not the data in the highly controlled environment of the Nebulae Supercomputer installation.
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Finisar’s Tony Pearson (left) visits Dawning for a tour of the Nebulae – the World’s #2 Supercomputer as ranked by the 35th edition of the Top 500 supercomputer list.

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