The Oak Ridge National Laboratory has announced the development of a new 200-petaflops supercomputer called Summit that is roughly eight times more powerful than the 27-petaflops Titan supercomputer that was introduced in 2012. That makes it the world’s most powerful supercomputer and for certain scientific applications it is said to be capable of more than 3.3 exaops. This will allow the U.S. Department of Energy to make discovers faster in energy, advanced materials and artificial intelligence (AI), among other areas.
The system cost about $200 million to build and is housed in a data center that is about the size of two tennis courts. The Summit supercomputer is comprised of 4,608 compute servers, each containing two 22-core 3.1GHz IBM Power9 processors and six NVIDIA Tesla V100 graphics cards. Each of the server nodes are interconnected with Mellanox dual-rail EDR InfiniBand for up to 200Gbps of bandwidth between each server. All the DRAM memory in Summit add up to being 10 petabytes!
This supercomputer was contracted back in 2014 during a time when Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning was just starting to take off. NVIDIA is being praised for being the reason this supercomputer is over the top as they Tesla V100 is an AI powerhouse since NVIDIA used specialized Tensor Cores in the Volta V100 GPU. All that power is already being put to use as the system is operational.
Power consumption for the entire supercomputer tops out at 15 megawatts and a massive 4,000 gallon per minute liquid cooling solution keeps heat at bay. This system should be easily be the fastest system in the world when the Top500 supercomputer list is updated.
“Today’s launch of the Summit supercomputer demonstrates the strength of American leadership in scientific innovation and technology development. It’s going to have a profound impact in energy research, scientific discovery, economic competitiveness and national security,” said Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “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. Summit will empower scientists to address a wide range of new challenges, accelerate discovery, spur innovation and above all, benefit the American people.”
More information can be found on the ORNL website.