Oak Ridge keeps title for fastest supercomputer

The Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory remains the world’s fastest and most powerful, according to the latest TOP500 ranking.

Coming in second is Summit’s sibling, the Sierra supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

For the first time, all of the 500 computers ranked process at more than 1 petaflop, or more than 1 quadrillion 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.

“The Summit system slightly improved its HPL result from six months ago, delivering a record 148.6 petaflops, while the number two Sierra system remains unchanged at 94.6 petaflops,” said a TOP500 news release. Summit ran 5.1 petaflops faster this time. Both it and Sierra were built by IBM.

China is close behind

China holds the third spot with its Sunway TaihuLight at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, clocking in at 93 petaflops. Fourth place also belongs to China, for the Tianhe-2A supercomputer in Guangzhou, about a third slower than TaihuLight.

One new system and one upgraded system made the top 10. The new Frontera supercomputer at the University of Texas placed fifth.

Sixth is the Swiss Piz Daint, Europe’s most powerful. Seventh is the Trinity supercomputer at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Japan’s only spot in the top 10 is the AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure at number eight. Ninth is the SuperMUCNG near Munich, and rounding out the list is the upgraded Lassen supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the unclassified counterpart to the classified Sierra system.

Five of the 10 fastest computers are in the United States. China has 219 systems in the top 500, followed by the U.S. with 116. Then come Japan, France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

This is the fifty-third ranking of the world’s 500 fastest computers, done every six months for 26 years. It started at the Mannheim Supercomputer Seminar in 1993 with now-deceased computer scientist Hans Meuer; today the list is compiled by four authors, including Jack Dongarra, director of the Innovative Computing Laboratory at the University of Tennessee.

Even more computing power coming to ORNL

Three successive systems at Oak Ridge — Jaguar, Titan and Summit — have been dubbed the world’s fastest since 2010. This is the third consecutive time Summit, which came online in June 2018, has ranked at the top. In the last ranking, six months ago, Sierra edged out TaihuLight for second. For two years prior to June 2018, TaihuLight was in first place for two years.

On May 7, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry came to ORNL to announce Oak Ridge will get one of the world’s first three exascale computers, capable of a quintillion calculations per second.

Frontier, as it will be called, is expected to come online in 2021. It will be built by Cray Inc. and Advanced Micro Devices; Cray also built Jaguar and Titan.

Slightly earlier that year Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois will likely have Aurora, while the tentatively named El Capitan computer will be built at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California by 2023, according to the Department of Energy.

“We are determined to keep America at the forefront of the computing parade, if you will,” Perry said in his announcement, citing China as “the competition.”

Frontier will cost more than $600 million, about twice the price of Summit. It will take up as much space as two basketball courts, fill more than 100 computer cabinets and weigh 1 million pounds. The goal for Frontier is a speed of 1.5 quintillion calculations per second, or 1.5 exaflops.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit www.eteda.org


Published June 21, 2019