2020 is the date China claims to deliver its supercomputer "Tianhe-3," three years ahead of the U.S. roadmap.

Liao Xiangke, head of the National University of Defence Technology (NUDT) said “The government of Tianjin Binhai New Area, NUDT and the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin are working on the project, and we plan to name it Tianhe-3.”

According to the national plan for the next generation of high performance computers, China will develop an ‘exascale computer’ during the 13th Five-Year-Plan period (2016-2020).

The exascale supercomputer will deliver at least a billion billion calculations per second, but it remains to be seen how useful the machine would be. The U.S. places emphasis on application performance as opposed to China's peak performance record. Steve Conway, a high-performance computing analyst at IDC says "It's entirely probable that one or more governments will deploy supercomputers with hypothetical peak performance of an exaflop by 2020."

In 2010, China’s first petaflop supercomputer Tianhe-1 capable of at least a million billion calculations per second came into service in the supercomputing centre.

At present, Tianhe-1 performs various tasks including oil exploration, high-end equipment manufacturing, biological medicine and animation design, and serves nearly 1,000 customers, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

China has been leading the Top 500 list with its 34-petaflop Tianhe-2 system, but that list is due to be updated next week at the ISC High Performance Conference in Frankfurt, Germany.