US grabs the supercomputer crown again
THE BATTLE OVER which country owns the world’s fastest supercomputer has been raging for years, and now the US has claimed the title once again.
Introducing the Summit supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee (ORNL), US scientists showed off the computer’s impressive ability to calculate and analyse 200 quadrillion calculations per second or 200 petaflops.
To put that into perspective, Summit doubles the peak speed of China’s Taihu Light, which owns the top supercomputer title currently and can reach a peak of 93 petaflops.
For other scientific applications, Summit can calculate more than three billion billion mixed precision calculations and has more than 10 petabytes of memory. That precision has allowed US scientists to run the world’s first exascale calculation, basically a massive calculation, that was not possible until now.
The supercomputer, developed by IBM, is one hefty machine, filling up two tennis courts and weighing more than a commercial aircraft, at 340 tonnes. A Summit machine costs around £150m and uses a whole 4,608 compute servers. These servers hold two 22-core IBM Power9 processors and six Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs. It draws 13 megawatts of power, and requires over 4,000 gallons of water to be continuously pumped through the system to keep it cool.
The ORNL says Summit will help researchers study human protein and cellular systems, and could improve the treatment of Alzheimer’s or heart disease.