US Has the World’s Fastest Super Computer
$IBM, $NVDA, $QCOM
The US has a new supercomputer and it’s 2X as fast as the current record holder in China.
International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) developed the Summit computer, with help from Nvidia Corp.(NASDAQ:NVDA), for the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The system cost about $200-M to build, will occupy a warehouse the size of 2 tennis courts and be put to work on super-complex calculations that could lead to breakthroughs in fields from astrophysics to cancer research, the lab said in a statement last Friday.
Summit also brings the title of world’s fastest computer back to the US.
It comes as the race between America and China for technological supremacy is being taken more seriously by US lawmakers, who are concerned about the billions China is spending on AI (artificial intelligence) and quantum computing.
US President Donald Trump has taken an aggressive tone toward China, blocking the takeover of chip-maker Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) on national security grounds and accusing China of stealing US trade secrets.
“There is a direct correlation between leadership in this area and national security implications,” said the Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “Every country recognizes that being a leader in this field has downstream impact.”
Summit operates at a speed of 200,000-T calculations per sec — or 200 petaflops in computer science lingo.
That’s more than 2X as fast as the current record holder, the Sunway TaihuLight at the National Super Computer Center in Guangzhou, China, which runs at 93 petaflops. The 3rd-fastest machine is also in China, operating at 33.8 petaflops.
IBM and Nvidia found ways to make the machine much faster, while only needing 30% more power than previous systems.
Note: Summit needs the same amount of power it takes to serve a small town.
“There was a time when we thought a machine of this caliber would require a nuclear reactor right next to it to run it,” he said.
The US Department of Energy officially controls the system and who gets to use it. Scientific projects will be chosen from open submissions, and eventually private companies will be able to pay to have special access.
“These computers obviously offer those that have them the ability to innovate very, very quickly and have a competitive advantage,” said John Kelly, who oversees IBM’s AI and research projects.
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Have a terrific week.
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