For almost five years, China’s Sunway TaihuLight has been the supreme leader in the supercomputing world. But things have changed with the arrival of Summit – a new supercomputer unveiled by the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Running at its maximum capacity of 200 petaflops (or 200,000 trillion calculations per second), it’s around eight times faster than Titan, another powerful supercomputer developed by ORNL. It’s also faster than Sunway, which can run at 125 petaflops when at max capacity, making Summit around 60% faster. Moreover, it also runs Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
In terms of size, Summit covers an area equivalent of two tennis courts. It 4,608 servers house around 9,000 22-core IBM Power9 processors and 27,0000 Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs. The electricity required to run Summit is enough to power 8,000 homes, and it takes around 15,000 liters of water per minute to keep the supercomputer cool while doing calculations.
So, what’s the use of this much power?
Summit will leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to help scientists make discoveries that haven’t been possible until now.
ORNL researchers have already made the world’s first exascale scientific calculation (that’s one billion billion calculations per second) using Summit, running at 1.88 exaops.
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Projects created for Summit spread across different areas like finding supernovas, how metals like iron ended up in our body, development of new materials, analyze medical data to find a solution for Cancer, etc.