US Unveils the World’s Smartest Supercomputer

Oak Ridge National Laboratory and IBM have successfully built and launched the Summit supercomputer, the world’s most powerful and smartest supercomputer. Summit is 8 times more powerful than the current top ranked Titan, also housed at the same lab.

Summit, the world’s smartest supercomputer

  • With a peak performance of 200,000 trillion calculations per second—or 200 petaflops, Summit will be 8 times more powerful than the current top-ranked system, Titan, also housed at the same lab.
  • For certain scientific applications, it will be capable of more than three billion-billion mixed precision calculations per second.
  • It has the ability to compute 30 years’ worth of data saved on a desktop computer in just one hour.
  • It will run the world’s first exascale scientific calculation, or exaops, as the US Energy Department’s fleet of proposed exascale computing systems come online in the next five years.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry attended the launch on June 8 to meet with the ORNL team and see first-hand the supercomputer.

For certain scientific applications, Summit will be capable of more than 3 billion-billion mixed precision calculations per second. The supercomputer will provide unprecedented computing power for research in energy, advanced materials, and artificial intelligence (AI), among other domains, the Energy Department said. It will enable scientific discoveries that were previously impractical or impossible.

“I am truly excited by the potential of Summit, as it moves the nation one step closer to the goal of delivering an exascale supercomputing system by 2021,” Perry said. “Summit will empower scientists to address a wide range of new challenges, accelerate discovery, spur innovation, and above all, benefit the American people.”

In April, Perry had announced a Request for Proposals, potentially worth up to $1.8 billion, for the development of at least two new exascale supercomputers to be deployed at national laboratories in the 2021-2023 timeframe.

Summit launch paves the way for higher computing efficiency that could revolutionize the future of American science. For example, it can compute 30 years’ worth of data saved on a desktop computer in just one hour.

ORNL researchers have also figured out how to harness the power and intelligence of Summit’s architecture to run the world’s first exascale scientific calculation, or exaops. The US Energy Department’s exaops systems will come online in the next five years.

“ORNL scientists were among the scientific teams that achieved the first gigaflops calculations in 1988, the first teraflops calculations in 1998, the first petaflops calculations in 2008, and now the first exaops calculations in 2018,” said ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia. “The pioneering research of ORNL scientists and engineers has played a pivotal role in our nation’s history and continues to shape our future. We look forward to welcoming the scientific user community to Summit as we pursue another 75 years of leadership in science.”

Summit will be open to select projects this year while ORNL and IBM work through the acceptance process for the machine. In 2019, the bulk of access to the IBM system will go to research teams selected through DOE’s Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program.

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