This ultrapowerful supercomputer is so fast and shiny it puts every other supercomputer to shame, just unveiled in a ceremony at the physics laboratory in Tennessee, it is named Summit. At this moment it has not been confirmed but it is believed to be the fastest supercomputer in the world. The interesting point for the USA is it is faster than China’s.
Filling up two whole tennis courts, Summit is able to answer 200 quadrillion calculations per second. 200 Quadrillion is two hundred followed by 15 zeros in case you were wondering. It resides in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and now is their most prized piece of technical hardware.
To break down how fast it is, in terms, we can all understand if you were able to get every person on Earth to start making calculations for you at the speed of one calculation per second: it would still take 305 days to complete what Summit is able to achieve in 1 second.
The world’s former champion of supercomputers is called Sunway TaihuLight and is located in China’s National Supercomputing Center, it is able to perform calculations up to 93 quadrillions a second; so nowhere near the speed of Summit.
Unlike home or gaming computers, supercomputer chips are optimized and created only to perform mathematical calculations. Basically, they are made to perform operations like adding, subtracting and multiplying. Often they are also equipped with neural networks, an AI system which allows them to perform several layers of calculations all at the same time.
And if you do happen to know tech talk well Summit comes equipped with 512 GB of ram, which compared to the average household computer of 2 GB is pretty impressive.
Of course, all this performance hardware came at a cost, New York Times reported it was $200 million but that it was still a small cost compared to what Summit can do for science. The first supercomputer that can integrate artificial intelligence into computing, may allow it to answer some of the world’s biggest mysteries.