Tech war: How Chinese scientists rigged a low-cost AI computer chip to power a hypersonic weapon

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According to a joint project team from the Beijing Power Machinery Research Institute and Dalian University of Technology, the module’s response speed makes it “ideal for real-time optimization of fuel supply systems, fault diagnosis, and fault tolerance in scrum jet engines.” Ideal for “control”. Their peer-reviewed paper was published March 13 in the Chinese academic journal Propulsion Technology.

US could ‘send strong message’ to China with hypersonic missile test

Headquartered in the United States, Nvidia is the world’s largest supplier of AI chips. Nvidia began selling the TX2i for industrial applications about six years ago. The module’s only valid peak performance is 1.26 TFlops, about one-fiftieth of the capability of the company’s most powerful AI chip, the H100.

However, the H100 costs tens of thousands of US dollars and is in short supply. The TX2i, on the other hand, can be had for a few hundred dollars, is not subject to US export controls, and is widely available online.

When contacted by the South China Morning Post on April 12, Nvidia said it had no comment on the matter.

The project team led by Professor Sun Ziming said in their paper that the TX2i module in the scrum jet engine control system not only increased the range and stability of hypersonic vehicles, but also significantly reduced their research and development costs.

It wasn’t the first time Chinese scientists used American chips. Hypersonic weapons research, according to their paper. Previous studies used Intel CPUs and high-end graphics cards from Nvidia to simulate complex high-speed flow fields.

“High performance graphics cards have excellent computational capabilities but require supporting equipment such as hosting platforms, power supplies and radiators.

“They have disadvantages such as high power consumption, heavy weight and large size, which do not meet the requirements of light weight and small size embedded controllers in the aerospace field,” Sun’s team wrote in their paper.

Due to the sequential nature of hypersonic flow field simulations, where one event must occur before another can be calculated, industry experts generally believe that such computational tasks cannot be accomplished using low-end AI chips. Can be done by those who are proficient in doing simple parallel computations.

To solve this problem, Sun’s team introduced a novel CPU plus GPU architecture, which detailed how to solve sequential parallel computing problems by ensuring that two different chip types work together. Be dealt with.

The “step-by-step” guide provided in the paper provides detailed formulas and addresses potential engineering challenges, including limiting simulation grid size, memory management, code optimization, and specific compilation instruction schemes.


Iran’s new missile can reportedly reach Israel and US military bases in the Middle East.

Iran’s new missile can reportedly reach Israel and US military bases in the Middle East.

For better universality, the engine controller’s interface and communication protocol conform to international standards.

However, the engine is only one component of the entire weapon platform.

“Submitting the application [the AI chip] For hypersonic vehicles, more work is needed in inlet modeling, shock wave correction, and data modeling,” the team said in the paper.

Some of the key parameters involved in these tasks usually need to be obtained in extensive wind tunnel testing and actual flights.

Still, the TX2i is unlikely to be used for Chinese hypersonic missiles. Of China Domestic chip manufacturers It can supply the nation’s military with chips that perform better than the TX2i, with minimal concerns over supply chain reliability and security.

It’s unclear why the researchers chose the Nvidia chip for their experiment, and the authors could not be reached for comment.

It is possible that this was intended to prove the feasibility of using a cheap AI chip for hypersonic weapons, regardless of where it was made. However, such weapons can work with different types of chips..

Although few countries are capable of designing and developing such chips, a growing number of nations, including Germany, France, Japan, North Korea, and Iran, have launched hypersonic weapons research and development programs.

even The HouthisAn Iranian-backed rebel group that controls much of Yemen has claimed to be testing hypersonic missiles capable of reaching Mach 8.

The proliferation of hypersonic weapons technology has been a major concern for the United States. In 2017, the Rand Corporation suggested that Washington work with Moscow and Beijing to prevent other countries from acquiring such technology.

But while Chinese and Russian military experts acknowledge that hypersonic weapons technology poses some risks, they say it is more likely to end the US-centered global order.

They have argued that hypersonic missiles could penetrate the defenses of America’s massive aircraft carrier fleet, which it has long relied on for global military superiority.

In a war game exercise by Chinese scientists last year, a Ford-class aircraft carrier battle group was destroyed by about 20 hypersonic anti-ship missiles. If more countries have hypersonic weapons, some experts say, the advantage gained by the few countries with significant naval power over the past five centuries may disappear.

North Korea says it has tested a new solid-fueled hypersonic missile.

On April 3, North Korea successfully test-fired a hypersonic gliding missile, and on Monday, Iran claimed that it had used a hypersonic missile to attack Israeli military bases in response to Israel’s bombing of the Iranian embassy. were done. Currently, there is no evidence that China or Russia have provided weapons or technical assistance to either country.

Affiliated with Beijing Power Machinery Research Institute. China Aerospace Science and Industry CorporationA major supplier of hypersonic weapons to China. Dalian University of Technology, closely associated with China’s navy, is a key research and development base for advanced manufacturing.
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