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IBM And NVIDIA Reach The Summit: The World’s Fastest Supercomputer

IBM And NVIDIA Reach The Summit: The World’s Fastest Supercomputer

IBM and NVIDIA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that they have completed testing the world’s fastest supercomputer, Summit, at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Capable of over 200 petaflops (200 quadrillion operations per second), Summit consists of 4600 IBM dual socket Power 9 nodes, connected by over 185 miles of fiber optic cabling. Each node is equipped with 6 NVIDIA Volta TensorCore GPUs, delivering total throughput that is 8 times faster than its predecessor, Titan, for double precision tasks, and 100 times faster for reduced precision tasks common in deep learning and AI. China has held the top spot in the Top 500 for the last 5 years, so this brings the virtual HPC crown home to the USA.

Some of the specifications are truly amazing; the system exchanges water at the rate of 9 Olympic pools per day for cooling, and as an AI supercomputer, Summit has already achieved (limited) “exascale” status, delivering 3 exaflops of AI precision performance. What may be more important, though, is the science that this new system will enable—it is already at work on drug discovery using quantum chemistry, chronic pain analysis, and the study of mitochondrial DNA.

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