eldavojohn writes: China's digging up a massive building with the intent of doing nothing less than usurping the United States as the world's supercomputing leader, so claims IBM. As of the middle of this year, the US' Oak Ridge Lab has been beating China's Shenzhen Center but now an IBM representative addressed a Washington DC forum by saying, 'You have sovereign nations making material investments of a tremendous magnitude to basically eat our lunch, eat our collective lunch.' China's long been a contender but Europe and Japan have similar goals to hit an exascale supercomputer (a computer with 10^8 to 10^9 cores). To achieve this by 2020, the United States will need to focus on 'co-design' where hardware is developed in tandem with every other aspect of the computer from applications down to optics. This isn't the first time a 'space race' style supercomputing push has been spurred by international competitiveness.