Summit is truly a remarkable piece of engineering. Located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, Summit holds the world record of 200 quadrillion calculations per second — that’s about 100 million times more than a typical computer. It is now, officially, the fastest supercomputer in the world. That means its processors can go through more cycles per second (measured in FLOPS), which allows it to make a given computation more quickly than any other.
China’s Sunway TaihuLight, the previous holder of the title of the world’s fastest supercomputer until Summit came along, clocked in at 125 petaFLOPS, which is five times faster than the next fastest supercomputer. Summit works at a jaw-dropping 200 petaFLOPS.
Building Summit means that some geeks can pump their fists and chant “U! S! A!” but the implications are bigger than just a good old-fashioned international competition.
According to The Wall Street Journal, researchers will be using Summit to try and solve some big medical questions, such as developing new treatments for Alzheimer’s or addiction. And as MIT Technology Review reported, Summit marks the first time that a supercomputer was designed specifically to work with the latest in artificial intelligence developments.
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