Supercomputers have been around since 1920 and have improved tremendously over the years. While the supercomputers of the 1980s used only a few processors, in the 1990s, machines with thousands of processors began to appear both in the United States and in Japan, setting new computational performance records. Progress in the first decade of the 21st century was dramatic and supercomputers with over 60,000 processors appeared, reaching top performance levels.
Supercomputers are extremely powerful computers used primarily for scientific and engineering work requiring exceedingly high-speed computations. Common applications for supercomputers include testing mathematical models for complex physical phenomena or designs, such as climate and weather, the evolution of the cosmos, and reactors, nuclear weapons new chemical compounds (especially for pharmaceutical purposes), and cryptology.
It is nothing compared to the regular computers we have around. Supercomputers are usually not available for commercial use because of the high cost of producing them and their usage.
There are many supercomputers in the world with China owning about 229 of it as of 2020. In this article, I will give you the 5 top supercomputers in the world right now.
5 Most Powerful Supercomputers in the World
1. Fugaku (Japanese)
Fugaku the currently the world’s most powerful computer named after mount Fiji. It is currently 3 times ahead of the number 2 system in the world. The development is in 2014 and was scheduled to start operation in 2021. The supercomputer is built with the Fujitsu A64FX microprocessor. This CPU is based on the ARM version 8.28A processor architecture and adopts them for scalable vector extension supercomputers.
Fugaku uses 158,976 A64FX CPUs joined together using Fujitsu’s proprietary torus fusion interconnect. Fugaku will use a “light-weight multi-kernel operating system” named IHK/McKernel. The operating system uses both Linux and the McKernel light-weight kernel operating simultaneously and side by side. it runs all kinds of applications and used for research during the covid-19 pandemic. The program and production cost $1billion
2. Summit or OLCF-4
The second on our list is the Summit or OLCF-4 developed by IBM for use at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It was the fastest computer from November 2018 to July 2020. As of November 2019, the supercomputer is also the 5th most energy-efficient in the world with a measured power efficiency of 14.668 gigaFLOPS/watt.
Summit is the first supercomputer to reach exaflop (a quintillion operations per second) speed, achieving 1.88 exaflops during a genomic analysis, and is expected to reach 3.3 exaflops using mixed-precision calculations. Built with $350 million, Summit is tasked with civilian scientific research, it provides scientists and researchers the opportunity to solve complex tasks in the fields of energy, artificial intelligence, human health, and other research areas.
Summit has 4608 nodes and each of the nodes has over 600 GB of coherent memory which is addressable by all CPUs and GPUs plus 800 GB of non-volatile RAM that can be used as a burst buffer or as extended memory.
3. Sierra or ATS-2
Sierra is a supercomputer built for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for use by the National Nuclear Security Administration as the second Advanced Technology System. It is primarily used for predictive applications in stockpile stewardship, helping to assure the safety, reliability, and effectiveness of the United States’ nuclear weapons.
Sierra is very similar in architecture to the Summit supercomputer built for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Sierra system uses IBM POWER9 CPUs in conjunction with Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs.
4. The Sunway TaihuLight
The Sunway TaihuLight is a Chinese supercomputer which, as of November 2018, is ranked third in the world with a LINPACK benchmark rating of 93 petaflops. The name is translated as divine power, the light of Taihu Lake. This is nearly three times as fast as the previous Tianhe-2, which ran at 34 petaflops. As of June 2017, it is ranked as the 16th most energy-efficient supercomputer with an efficiency of 6.051 GFlops/watt.
It was designed by the National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology (NRCPC) and is located at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi in the city of Wuxi, in Jiangsu province, China. The Sunway TaihuLight was the world’s fastest supercomputer for two years, from June 2016 to June 2018. The Sunway TaihuLight uses a total of 40,960 Chinese-designed SW26010 manycore 64-bit RISC processors based on the Sunway architecture. The system runs on its own operating system, Sunway RaiseOS 2.0.5, which is based on Linux. It was built with $470.6 million.
5. Tianhe-2 or TH-2
Tianhe-2 or TH-2 is a 33.86-petaflops supercomputer located in the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou, China. It was developed by a team of 1,300 scientists and engineers. It was the world’s fastest supercomputer from June 2013 to November 2015. The development of Tianhe-2 was sponsored by the 863 High Technology Program, initiated by the Chinese government, the government of Guangdong province, and the government of Guangzhou city. It was built by China’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) in collaboration with the Chinese IT firm Inspur.
With 16,000 computer nodes, each comprising two Intel Ivy Bridge Xeon processors and three Xeon Phi coprocessor chips, it represented the world’s largest installation of Ivy Bridge and Xeon Phi chips, counting a total of 3,120,000 cores.
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