The USA announces powerful supercomputers
The Energy Department of the USA announced they have plans to construct two supercomputers powered by graphic processors. New systems will ensure that the output is at least threefold greater than the output of the currently the most powerful supercomputer in the world. This will be the next step to build a machine operating in exascale.
These supercomputers, which are going come into operation in 2017 are going to be based on a new generation servers IBM Power with graphic accelerators NVIDIA Tesla. They are also going to make use of NVIDIA NVLink technology to ensure fast connection between graphic processors.
The supercomputer “Summit” which is going to be set up in Oak Ridge national laboratory, will be able to achieve peak output of 150 – 300 PFLOPS and will find its use in public research sector. The other supercomputer “Sierra” featuring output exceeding 100 PFLOPS, will be a key element in Nuclear Safety Mission of the USA based in Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Both systems will be much faster than currently the most efficient american supercomputer “Titan” based in Oak Ridge laboratory and achieving 27 PFLOPS at its peak output, as well as the world’s fastest “Tianhe-2” based in Chinese National Supercomputer Laboratory in Kanton achieving 55 PFLOPS as peak power.
The investment in supercomputers Summit and Sierra will enable the USA to get more independence in therms of energy. It will also let the USA get solutions to narrow down climate change, to make constructions using less fuels, to forecast natural catastrophes, also to increase security of storage of nuclear materials and to increase economic competitiveness.
These systems are the first crucial step in the cooperation between IBM and NVIDIA. This cooperation is based on activities of Open Power Foundation, being an open organization dealing with development of modern, new generation IT solutions for high- efficiency calculating systems and for corporate data centres.
Summit, like supercomputer Titan currently in operation, will find its use in open research, which means that scientists all around the world will be able to apply for the access to the system. This system will also be energetically efficient; it will provide 5 to 10-fold higher output than Titan, using only 10 % power more.
Sierra will reach 5 to 10 times greater calculating power than supercomputer “Seqouia” currently in operation in Lawrence Livermore Laboratory which boasts its 20 PFLOPS. The new system will be used by National Nuclear Security Administration to ensure secure safety and effectiveness of american nuclear deterrence, without the need for testing, this is to narrow down deployment of weapons of mass destruction around the world.
It is expected that exascale supercomputers will enable progress in many areas of science, technology and industry including the invention of new drugs, discovering the secrets of human brain, alleviating the effects of climate change and finally learning more about the origins of the Universe.
The greatest challenge when designing exascale supercomputers is to achieve systems with the greatest output possible using at the same time the lowest amount of energy possible. Graphic accelerators are perfectly fit for the job here.