By Elton Gomes
The United States of America now has the world’s fastest supercomputer. The new machine was unveiled Friday by the US Department of Energy (DoE), which partnered with tech companies IBM and Nvidia to build it. The supercomputer – named Summit – was designed by IBM and was unveiled at the DoE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Announcing Summit, the world's most powerful supercomputer, built for the #AI era, and capable of an estimated 200,000 trillion calculations per second. https://t.co/9tOdbGAbFe #IBMSummit pic.twitter.com/dxw3JkllqF
— IBM (@IBM) June 8, 2018
Chief Executive Officer of IBM Ginni Rometty told CNBC, “This is really one of our greatest achievements. It is the fastest, it is the smartest supercomputer.” She added the supercomputer took a total of four years to build. Summit is reportedly eight times more powerful than the US’s current top-ranked system, Titan.
Summit uses up to 4,000 gallons of water per minute around a circulatory system to cool its 37,000 processors. The supercomputer can deliver a peak performance of 200 quadrillions (200 followed by 15 zeros) calculations per second. This means that one person doing one calculation per second would have to live for more than 6 billion years to match what Summit can do in one second. Summit’s speed is almost twice the peak performance of China’s primary Sunway TaihuLight.
The supercomputer’s 4,608 servers occupy the size of two tennis courts. The servers house over 9,000 22-core IBM Power9 processors and more than 27,000 Nvidia Tesla V100 graphic processing units. In total, Summit’s memory amounts to more than 10 petabytes, where 1 petabyte equals 10,00,000 gigabytes.
According to TechCrunch, the system could be used for machine learning and deep learning applications and it could also be used for research in energy and advanced materials.
US topples China
For a period of five years, China owned the world’s fastest computer. With Summit, the US has overtaken China in the race to build the world’s fastest computer. However, China still dominates the world in terms of having the maximum number of supercomputers. The US’s lead could be cut short as Japan, China, and Europe are developing machines that are quicker.
In the advent of technology, lightning-fast systems like Summit could play a substantial role in fields like artificial intelligence (AI) and the also have the ability to store enormous amounts of data. Due to such features, America and China are involved in a technological rivalry of sorts with the Pentagon seeing Chinese companies as a national security threat.
Paving the way for technology, scientists are of the opinion that new discoveries in medicine, new materials, and energy technology will rely on Summit’s approach.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.
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