The US is again the home to the world’s fastest supercomputer – the Summit. For five years, China had the world’s fastest supercomputer, the Sunway TaihuLight. But the United States retook the lead thanks to a machine, called Summit, built for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
The Summit’s theoretical peak speed is 200 petaflops or 200,000 teraflops. To put that in human terms, approximately 6.3 billion people would all have to make a calculation at the same time, every second, for an entire year, to match what Summit can do in just one second. For certain scientific applications, Summit will also be capable of more than three billion-billion mixed precision calculations per second. Summit will provide unprecedented computing power for research in energy, advanced materials, and artificial intelligence (AI), among other domains. Summit will enable scientific discoveries that were previously impractical or impossible.
Summit is 60 percent faster than the previous supercomputing leader, the Sunway TaihuLight based in the Chinese city of Wuxi. However, China still has the world’s most supercomputers overall. And China, Japan, and Europe are developing machines that are even faster, which could mean the American lead is short-lived. As of now, Summit’s computing capacity is so powerful that it has the ability to compute 30 years’ worth of data saved on a desktop computer in just one hour. These capabilities mark a huge increase in computing efficiency that will revolutionize the future of American science.
(source: The New York Times, MitTechReview, Quartz, Wired, Energy.gov)