View Full Version : Supercomputers

10-30-2012, 12:35 AM
Oak Ridge's Titan may be world's fastest supercomputer...
New Supercomputer Could be World's Fastest
October 29, 2012 - Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the U.S. state of Tennessee have unveiled what could be the world’s fastest supercomputer.

The new computer, named Titan, is capable of making more than 20,000 trillion calculations each second (20 petaflops), according to officials at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). That is roughly equivalent to each of the world’s seven billion people being able to carry out three million calculations per second, according to ORNL. Titan also has more than 700 terabytes of memory. 
“The numbers just end up so big that I struggle to come up with a way to explain it,” said Buddy Bland, the project director of ORNL’s Leadership Computing Facility. “It’s unimaginable. Twenty petaflops is [the number] 20 followed by 15 zeros.” Titan is actually an upgrade to ORNL’s previous world’s best supercomputer, Jaguar. According to Bland, The new unit is roughly the same size as Jaguar, but is 10 times more powerful. Its components occupy a space about the area of a basketball court and are about two and a half meters high.

Titan, which cost $100 million, according to ORNL officials, is expected to be useful for researchers in numerous fields. 
"Titan will allow scientists to simulate physical systems more realistically and in far greater detail," said James Hack, director of ORNL's National Center for Computational Sciences. "The improvements in simulation fidelity will accelerate progress in a wide range of research areas such as alternative energy and energy efficiency, the identification and development of novel and useful materials, and the opportunity for more advanced climate projections."

Bland said there have been direct commercial benefits as a result of such supercomputers. He said one company, BMI Corporation, used Jaguar to design and develop airfoils for large trucks that make them more aerodynamic and fuel efficient. In basic science, supercomputers have also helped scientists determine why neutron stars spin they way they do, Bland said. 

Titan is the latest entrant in the race to have the world’s fastest supercomputer. It is expected to vie for the number one spot on the top 500 supercomputer list against Sequoia, which claimed the title last June. China and Japan have both fielded computers in the top five. 

“High performance computing is a game of leapfrog,” said Bland. “Every country in the world recognizes this is important. It’s important for our national competitiveness to be on the high end. Having the best tools means you get the best science.”

Bland said supercomputers are butting up against the same technological problems facing home computers. 

 “We use the same chips to build supercomputers that are in high-end computers at home,” he said. “These are not custom made chips for supercomputers. Processors haven’t gotten faster since 2002 or 2003. There are just more of them.” 

Energy consumption is a challenge to powerful supercomputers, but officials at ORNL say Titan will only use “marginally more” electricity than Jaguar.

Source (http://www.voanews.com/content/oak_ridge_unveils_new_supercomputer/1535699.html)

11-12-2012, 09:47 PM
Uncle Ferd says is `cause Chinese computers got squirrel's workin' lil' abacuses in `em...
US Titan supercomputer clocked as world's fastest
12 November 2012 - The fastest supercomputer, Titan, was sixth on the list when it was was compiled in June

The top two spots on the list of the world's most powerful supercomputers have both been captured by the US. The last time the country was in a similar position was three years ago. The fastest machine - Titan, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee - is an upgrade of Jaguar, the system which held the top spot in 2009. The supercomputer will be used to help develop more energy-efficient engines for vehicles, model climate change and research biofuels.

It can also be rented to third-parties, and is operated as part of the US Department of Energy's network of research labs. The Top 500 list of supercomputers was published by Hans Muer, professor of computer science at Mannheim, who has been keeping track of developments since 1986. It was released at the SC12 supercomputing conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Mixed processors

Titan leapfrogged the previous champion IBM's Sequoia - which is used to carry out simulations to help extend the life of nuclear weapons - thanks to its mix of central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) technologies. According to the Linpack benchmark it operates at 17.59 petaflop/sec - the equivalent of 17,590 trillion calculations per second. The benchmark measures real-world performance - but in theory the machine can boost that to a "peak performance" of more than 20 petaflop/sec.

To achieve this the device has been fitted with 18,688 Tesla K20x GPU modules made by Nvidia to work alongside its pre-existing CPUs. Traditionally supercomputers relied only on CPUs. CPU cores are designed to carry out a single set of instructions at a time, making them well suited for tasks in which the answer to one calculation is used to work out the next. GPU cores are typically slower at carrying out individual calculations, but make up for this by being able to carry out many at the same time. This makes them best suited for "parallellisable jobs" - processes that can be broken down into several parts that are then run simultaneously.

Mixing CPUs and GPUs together allows the most appropriate core to carry out each process. Nvidia said that in most instances its GPUs now carried out about 90% of Titan's workload. "Basing Titan on Tesla GPUs allows Oak Ridge to run phenomenally complex applications at scale, and validates the use of 'accelerated computing' to address our most pressing scientific problems," said Steve Scott, chief technology officer of the GPU accelerated computing business at Nvidia.

The other top systems included: (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20272810)

06-21-2016, 09:04 AM
Uncle Ferd still tryin' to figger out the abacus...
Chinese Supercomputer World’s Fastest
June 20, 2016 - A Chinese supercomputer has been named the world’s fastest.

According to a list of the speediest computers in the world, published by TOP500, the Chinese Sunway TaihuLight is number one. The 93 petaflop computer runs on a Linux-based operating system and is capable of 93,000 trillion calculations per second, which is double the speed of last year’s top computer, the Tianhe-2, also Chinese. "Considering that just 10 years ago, China claimed a mere 28 systems on the list, with none ranked in the top 30, the nation has come further and faster than any other country in the history of supercomputing," according to Top500.

The Chinese TaihuLight supercomputer has been named word's fastest.

China now has 167 computers in the top 500, surpassing the United States, which has 165. The TaihuLight is powered by a new ShenWei processor and is entirely made in China. According to a news release, it ends “remaining speculation that China would have to rely on Western technology to compete effectively in the upper echelons of supercomputing.”

TaihuLight is currently being operated at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, China. It will be used in a variety of ways, from advanced engineering and manufacturing work to climate modeling. China also boasts the second fastest supercomputer on the list. The United States has four computers among the top 10, while others in the top 10 are in Japan, Switzerland, Germany and Saudi Arabia.