The most powerful calculating machine in the world unofficially is a supercomputer named Summit. It was unveiled at Oak Ridge National Lab in Eastern Tennessee. The purpose of the design was partly to increase the techniques of artificial intelligence which can be found in the modern smartphones.
It was in June 2013 that a Chinese supercomputer claimed that it was more powerful compared ot the then most powerful super computer that was the property of the U.S.
An organization called Top500 which ranks supercomputers, is expected to officially update the list later this month
With the rise of cloud computing and humongous data centers, some of the sheen has bene rubbed off supercomputers. However giant computers are still needed for many huge computational problems. Last year, a report in the U.S. stated that the country needed to invest m ore money into development of supercomputers so that it can keep up with the development of China – especially to help in sectors that require high computing power such as on defense projects like nuclear weapons and hypersonic aircraft, and commercial innovations in aerospace, oil discovery, and pharmaceuticals.
The new super computer developed by IBM requires a space of about two tennis courts and uses up about 4,000 gallons of water every minute for a circulatory cooling system that keep the 37,000 processors of the computer cool enough for computing work.
Using a standard measure used to rate supercomputers, 200 quadrillion calculations per second (that’s 200 followed by 15 zeros) is delivered by the supercomputer at the peak of its performance says Oak Ridge. The processing power is about a million times more than a typical laptop and almost twice the peak performance level of the fastest and the most powerful computer in China – the Sunway TaihuLight.
Summit was made use of in a project requiring analysis of variations between human genome sequences during the early testing stages by researchers at Oak Ridge when the computer delivered over a quintillion calculations per second. According to the researcher that was the first time that such a computing scale was used for a scientific calculation.
Geopolitics of computational brawn is not the only factors that makes the development of America’s new best computer significant. The design of the supercomputer is better suited to meet the needs of running of the machine learning techniques that are in vogue with Silicon Valley firms like Google and Apple, compared to previous super computers develop din the country.
There are almost 28,000 graphics processors in Summit manufactured by Nvidia together with over 9,000 conventional processors developed by IBM. For a supercomputer, it is unusual to have such heavy use of graphic chips. According to Zacharia, director of Oak Ridge National Lab, this ability of Summit would be critical for making breakthrough development in machine learning for areas such as tough scientific problems. “We set out to build the world’s most powerful supercomputer,” he says, “but it’s also the world’s smartest supercomputer.”
(Adapted from Wired.com)