ORNL computer is world’s fastest
Oak Ridge is still on top of the world.
For the second time in a year, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Summit supercomputer is the fastest in the world.
In second place is the Sierra supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Both are run by the U.S. Department of Energy. They push China’s Sunway TaihuLight into third place; prior to June 2018, the TaihuLight was in first place for two years.
The formal announcement is expected today at SC18, the 30th annual high performance computing conference hosted by the Association for Computing Machinery and the IEEE Computer Society. This year’s conference is in Dallas, Texas.
Who has the world’s fastest computers?
Five of the top 10 are American computers, and two are Chinese; the fastest computer elsewhere is Piz Daint at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre, according to the list. It’s in fifth place.
Out of the top 500 computers in the world, however, China now has 45 percent, while the U.S. share has dropped to 22 percent. On average, American computers are more powerful.
Compilers of the 52nd and latest edition of the TOP500 list include Jack Dongarra, distinguished professor and director of the Innovative Computing Laboratory at the University of Tennessee’s Tickle College of Engineering; Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Martin Meuer of ISC Group in Germany.
In the latest ranking Summit widened its lead, improving its performance from 122.3 petaflops to 143.5, according to the news release. Sierra also increased its speed to move up to second place. Both were built by IBM.
A petaflop is 1,000 trillion floating point operations per second. Floating point operations, a special system of math, are used in scientific computer research and so are also a measure of computer performance.
A ‘deep learning behemoth’
In June, ORNL researchers estimated Summit may be capable of 200 petaflops, eight times as fast as the Titan Cray X, which it replaced. Three successive systems at Oak Ridge — Jaguar, Titan and Summit — have been dubbed the world’s fastest since 2010.
“With Summit, researchers will be able to simulate and explore complex phenomena and obtain results in disciplines ranging from quantum materials and chemistry, advanced fission and fusion energy, to bioenergy and foundational biosciences, faster and in greater detail,” ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia said in June. “In addition to traditional modeling and simulation, Summit will also serve as an artificial intelligence and deep learning behemoth, capable of analyzing massive amounts of data and automating critical steps of the discovery process.”
Summit has 4,608 servers, each with two 22-core IBM Power9 processors and six NVIDIA Tesla V100 graphics processing unit accelerators, ORNL announced. It runs a standard Linux operating system from Red Hat in Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
It’s seen as a big step toward developing the first exascale computer, capable of a billion billion double precision floating-point operations per second. Summit has already done some exascale calculations, making more than 1.8 quintillion calculations in a single second in bioenergy and human health research, Zacharia said at its debut.
Summit reportedly cost upward of $200 million. It’s expected to be available next year to researchers in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment user program.
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Jim Gaines
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Published November 13, 2018