America has come up with the world’s fastest supercomputer again after a gap of 5 years. In 2013, China took over the title of the fastest supercomputer ever made from the US and it has remained with them. But, IBM has unveiled a new supercomputer earlier this week which is set to regain the title back. At the Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL), IBM and U.S. Department have together come up with a supercomputer with a performance of 200,000 trillion calculations per second. The supercomputer named Summit will easily get into the Top 500 supercomputers in the world and probably the most superior one. IBM claims it to be the world’s most powerful and smartest computer on the planet. The computer is designed partly to scale up the Artifical Intelligence technique which is a growing trend.
Summit – World’s Most Powerful Supercomputer
Unofficially, Summit is the world’s most powerful computer overtaking the Chinese Supercomputer for now. At the end of the month, official confirmation will be granted by the organization – Top500.
Summit which has been building for quite some time at the ORNL is a giant machine. It consists of 4,608 servers including two 22 core IBM Power9 chips. It has six Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs on each of the two powerful IBM Power9 chips. The inclusion of the Nvidia chipset is obvious as the system will be used for Deep Learning and Machine Learning applications. The computer has an overall memory of 10 petabytes. Also, the supercomputer can be used in high-performance computer activities like research and advanced studies. Summit is built with a collaboration of IBM as the general contractor with Nvidia, InfiniBand, RedHat, and Mellanox.
Summit has 27,000 processors along with 28,000 graphical processors. Such high graphics processor is unusual in a supercomputer. But, Summit is specially designed to carry out such tasks like Machine Learning with popular and powerful tech companies like Google and Apple.
Jeff Nichols, ORNL lab director said that “The newest supercomputer Summit’s AI optimized hardware will enable the researchers to develop intelligent software. The software will be able to analyze massive data sets and perform calculations. It will, therefore, accelerate the pace of discovery”.
Summit, build by IBM occupies the space of two tennis court. It needs a circulation of 4,000 gallons of water to cool the 37,000 processors present. Oak Ridge has said that the computer can handle 200 quadrillion operations per second which are 200 followed by 15 zeros! Using a standard measurement system, it is 200 petaflops per second. Surprisingly, it is twice the peak performance of world’s current fastest supercomputer – Sunway TaihuLight.
Future Of Supercomputers
In a study, it was found that supercomputers were beaten by cloud computing techniques. But a US Government report has said that every nation should invest more on supercomputers in order to compete in nuclear weapons. China’s supercomputer is used in defense projects and commercial innovations which helps them to achieve success in the field. As a result, China is making superior aircraft and nuclear weapons. Along with it, innovations in pharmaceuticals, oil discovery and aerospace is possible due to the supercomputers. Hence, cloud computers cannot take up the place of supercomputers in the nation’s interest.
IBM is currently working on two supercomputers. Summit which is built at the Oak Ridge Lab and another is Sierra. Sierra will be placed at Lawrence Livermore National Lab which is scheduled to go live later this year. It is scheduled at 125 petaflops operations per second which are still faster than current DOE’s machine available throughout the world.