Earth’s fastest supercomputer is here. Do you want to know more?

fastest supercomputerThis is the new king of supercomputers
He's named Summit!

The Chinese dominance in the race to develop the fastest supercomputer on Earth is over, at least for a while.

The culprit is the Summit supercomputer located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, USA. With its 200 petaFLOPS, Summit defeated the Chinese supercomputer Sunway TaihuLight, who held the title as the most powerful in the world with 125 petaFLOPS.

Beyond the competition for the technological pride of nations, Summit could significantly revolutionize the capacity of future supercomputers. Get to know why?

The new king

Summit became the most powerful and fastest supercomputer in the world. Its most remarkable feature is its 200 petaFLOPS which results in 200 quadrillion calculations per second. To imagine the power of Summit, its speed duplicates 1 million times more than the fastest laptop.

"The incorporation of machine learning dramatically reduces the amount of simulation that needs to be done to get to optimal results." Dave Turek, IBM vice president of high-performance and cognitive systems. 

According to IBM, Summit is the fastest supercomputer but also the first one in history capable of handling machine learning, neural networks and the latest technological advances in artificial intelligence.

It is in the field of AI where Summit will give much to talk about since it has thousands of optimized AI chips developed by Nvidia and IBM capable of absorbing complex and demanding operations.

Super powerful, super-sized: 4,608 servers are part of Summit which occupies the space equivalent to two tennis courts and its weight exceeds a commercial aircraft.

Summit and hope for medicine

Medicine is one of the sectors that will benefit the most from Summit. According to the Wall Street Journal, the fastest supercomputer will help researchers to develop new treatments for Alzheimer's.

Researchers will be able to use different AI techniques to identify the patterns connected to the functioning and evolution of human proteins and cellular systems. Thanks to the understanding of these patterns, they will find better ways to treat heart disease and addictions.

In addition, they will be able to analyze millions of medical reports and images to find the hidden causes of different types of diseases such as cancer.

Although benefits for medicine will be present, the army is expecting to use Summit as well. This is something to worry about, especially if the Energy Department of the United States is involved.

Summit design
Summit architecture is able to provide 200 petaFLOPS which results in 200 quadrillion calculations per second

The design behind the fastest supercomputer

Summit is a remarkable engineering project. To put its extraordinary capacity in context, each of its nodes has 500 GB of coherent memory, in other words, the memory with the largest bandwidth plus DDR4 SDRAM.

It has a storage capacity of 250 petabytes, 9,216 IBM Power9 CPUs, 27,648 NVIDIA Tesla GPUs and is capable of transferring 25 gigabytes per second between nodes.

In Summit architecture, the calculation is present in any corner where there is data, this translates into an unprecedented speed in a system designed for AI.

Summit has a dual system hosted at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and, although it has recently been declared the fastest supercomputer on Earth, Summit development began in 2014.

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The promising future of supercomputers thanks to Summit

For technological developers, the fact that Summit is the first supercomputer in the world able to implement machine learning, open the doors for the next development of the so-called exascale computers.

Exascale computers can perform 1 quintillion of calculations per second. When the first exascale computer will be developed, it will have five times more power than Summit.

The most powerful supercomputers in the world

Fastest supercomputers compete in Major Leagues using petaFLOPS. PetaFLOPS is a metric that measures floating-point operations per second.

A petaFlops measures the power of a computer and is equivalent to 1,000,000,000,000,000 FLOPS. The most powerful supercomputers in the world offer power over 25 petaFlops.

Ranking of fastest supercomputers:

1. Summit 200 petaFLOPS
2. Sunway Taihulight 125 petaFLOPS
3. Tianhe-2 33.86 petaFLOPS
4. Cori 29.1 petaFLOPS
5. Titan 27 petaFLOPS
6. Oakforest-PACS 25 petaFLOPS


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