Personal Tech

The U.S. has new supercomputer and it’s twice as fast as the current record holder in China. At 200 petaflops, the United States' newest supercomputer is no joke. The Department of Energy recently debuted Summit -- the world's latest and most powerful supercomputer. Summit operates at 200 petaflops while at maximum capacity.

For perspective, that's 200 quadrillion calculations each second. The latest numbers outperform China's Sunway TaihuLight's 93 petaflop capacity. Summit also outdoes the US's previous record holder Titan.


Both Titan and Summit come from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.


“From its genesis 75 years ago, ORNL has a history and culture of solving large and difficult problems with national scope and impact,” ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia said. “ORNL scientists were among the scientific teams that achieved the first gigaflops calculations in 1988, the first teraflops calculations in 1998, the first petaflops calculations in 2008 and now the first exaops calculations in 2018. The pioneering research of ORNL scientists and engineers has played a pivotal role in our nation’s history and continues to shape our future. We look forward to welcoming the scientific user community to Summit as we pursue another 75 years of leadership in science.”


ORNL's latest contributions pull some impressive numbers. Summit has 4,608 servers and takes up the space of two tennis courts. Summit is made up of more than 9,000 22-core IBM Power9 processors and over 27,000 NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs.


That much hardware comes at a price. Summit requires the same amount of power that could be used to run 8,100 American homes. Cooling down that amount of heat output takes 4,000 gallons of water each minute.


Despite the energy pull, ORNL researchers and developers hope the supercomputer will be well worth the investment.