Linux still the superpower behind supercomputers
Supercomputing has always been an interest of mine, ever since learning about the Cray2 from 1985 with its four liquidcooled processors and 256 MWord memory. It was like something from science fiction, and I dreamed of one day being able to be in command of such an impressive machine.
Although I never got to play around with a Cray Supercomputer my job as a tech journalist affords me some compensation by being one of the first to learn of new supercomputing technologies. So I’m half-way there.
Recent news is that the custom Linux-driven NVidia DGX SaturnV has been ranked as the world’s most efficient supercomputer – as well as being the 28th fastest supercomputer on the planet. The SaturnV is powered by the firm's own Tesla P100 GPUs, of which it has 125, alongside 63,488GB of memory and 60,512 Intel Xeon E5-2698v4 processors. Impressively, this little lot is 2.3 times more energy efficient than the previous record holder, the Camphore 2.
The SaturnV is an accelerated AI supercomputer, which is capable of perceiving the world as we do; helping scientists and engineers find solutions to everything from global warming to the best method for building earthquake proof building.
The AI portion is said to be the most advanced ever developed, and has the ability to self-learn and design deep learning networks for itself, which isn’t scary in the slightest.
Japan's New Supercomputer
China has historically led the supercomputer charts for quite a few years now. As of November the country holds both the first and second place fastest supercomputer positions with the Tianhe-2 supercluster, and the current leader, the Sunway TaihuLight – a system that boasts 1,310,720GB of memory, 10,649,600 processing cores and runs the Linux-based Sunway RaiseOS 2.0.5.
However, despite China’s lead, Japan is stepping up to the plate by announcing that it will soon be revealing a new $173 million supercomputer that will be twice as powerful and fast as the current leader. At present, Japan sits sixth and seventh in the charts but, according to Satoshi Sekiguchi, the director-general at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, this new system will incorporate some new technologies that will give it the much needed boost to lead the charts for some time to come.
It is assumed that Fujitsu will be helping to build the system, along with software engineers who will be developing a new Linux system to interpret the 130-petaflops the supercomputer will generate when it eventually goes live.
The big question of course is, will it run Crysis?
Nvidia’s new supercomputer, so much power...