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New US supercomputer breaks exascale barrier

Summit system hits 1.88 billion billion calculations per second

New US supercomputer breaks exascale barrier
The Summit supercomputer is housed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The US Department of Energy has officially unveiled a new supercomputer, which looks set to be the world's fastest.

The new ‘Summit' supercomputer, based at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is also the first computer to break the exascale barrier of a billion billion calculations per second. Summit has clocked 1.88 quintillion calculations per second in a test run analyse human Genome.

Summit has been built by IBM, and is comprised of 4,608 nodes, each one housing two Power9 CPUs and six NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs. Summit consumes around 15MW of power. The system is expected to clock at around 200 petaflops/s.

At present, the world list of the most powerful supercomputing systems, TOP500, is topped by China's Sunway TaihuLight, which has registered 125 petaflops/s, but Summit is expect to rank as the fastest system when the next edition of the list is announced in July.

Summit will be used by the Department of Energy for analyse of data in areas including energy, material science, climate studies, computational chemistry, and cosmology. The system has also been designed as an ‘open science system', meaning its computational power can be utilised for other analysis, and the Oak Ridge Lab has said it hopes to make the system available to other institutions, particularly in healthcare, for further research.

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