US Has World's Fastest Supercomputer Again: IBM's Summit Can Do 200 Quadrillion Calculations Per Second


The United States reclaims international recognition for having the fastest supercomputer as IBM unveils Summit, a machine capable of 200 quadrillion calculations per second.

Working Together To Reach A Goal

Sources recall the last time that the country made the list was back in 2012. Now, through the efforts of International Business Machines and the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the supercomputer elevates its ranking to the top of the list.

Experts claim that its capabilities pushes it to first place and should stay that way until the new Top 500 Supercomputer ranking publishes its newest list before the month ends. According to the researchers from ORNL, its computing power will aid experts in their respective fields as they attempt to come up with a solution to the world's "most pressing challenges".

Components That Make Up The Machine

The team from the laboratory confirms that Summit's completion and performance were made possible through the help of several companies and specialists such as IBM, NVIDIA, Red Hat, and Mellanox Technologies. The general contractor was IBM, while NVIDIA provided some of the components required by the machine. Red Hat handled the Linux-based software, while Mellanox Technologies took care of the supercomputer's InfiniBand networking system.

Insiders reveal that the current world's fastest supercomputer comes with 4,608 compute servers. Each one of those sports two 22-core IBM Power9 chips alongside six NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs. The system relies on over 10 petabytes of RAM. Overall, the entire setup is intended for deep learning as well as machine learning applications. It likewise boasts a potential to handle computing workloads to research advanced materials and energy.

"Summit's AI-optimized hardware also gives researchers an incredible platform for analyzing massive datasets and creating intelligent software to accelerate the pace of discovery," according to Jeff Nichols, the associate laboratory director for computing and computational sciences at ORNL.

Space, Cooling, And Energy Requirements

In order to accommodate the supercomputer, 9,250 square-foot of space was allocated in the facility. Power machines like it generate a lot of heat and around 4,000 gallons of water is circulates around the system. Its power consumption is an estimated 13 megawatts, which is supposedly enough to power up to 8,000 homes in the United States.

Another One In The Making

It looks like Summit is not the only project the United States Department of Energy (DOE) plans to complete within the year. Sources share that a second supercomputer will be housed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It will carry the name Sierra and its computing power is currently rated at 125 petaflops, which makes it slightly less powerful than the former.

Industry experts note that both Summit and Sierra are currently faster and more powerful than any of the DOE's existing machines. Sierra is expected to go online later this year. In the meantime, it remains to be seen how long the United States can hold on to the top spot as other countries will most likely attempt to unseat the current title holder.

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