The Tianhe-2 is no tablet or laptop. Not only is it big, but the Chinese supercomputer is really fast. (Chang Xu/Imaginechina)

China has built the world’s fastest supercomputer, almost twice as fast as the second-place U.S. computer, a step that underlines the country’s rise as a science and technology powerhouse.

The twice-a-year TOP500 official listing of the world’s fastest supercomputers says the Tianhe-2 (sounds like tee-awn-hoo-wa) is by far the fastest. It is capable of computing at 33.86 petaflops per second. That equals 33,860 trillion calculations per second.

The Tianhe-2 — the name means “Milky Way-2” — was developed by the National University of Defense Technology in central China’s Changsha city. It knocks the U.S. Department of Energy’s Titan machine off the No. 1 spot. The Titan achieved 17.59 petaflops per second.

Supercomputers are used for complicated work, such as predicting the weather, testing military equipment and designing jetliners.

— Associated Press