How Exascale Supercomputers are Outpacing Old Tech: New supercomputers are being designed to operate at speeds close to an exascale, or a billion billion calculations per second.
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What is an Exascale computer?
An exascale computer is a supercomputer that is capable of reaching processing speeds of at least one exaflop, or one billion billion calculations per second. This is a measure of a computer’s raw computational power and speed. Exascale computers are still in development, and no computer has yet been built that can achieve these speeds. However, several organizations are working on developing exascale computing technologies.
The main goal of developing exascale computers is to increase the computational power and speed available to researchers and scientists. Exascale computers would be used for tasks such as climate modeling, large-scale data analysis, and developing new energy sources. The increased computational power of exascale computers would allow researchers to run more complex simulations and models, leading to new discoveries.
There are several challenges associated with developing exascale computers. One challenge is the development of algorithms that can take advantage of the increased computational power. Another challenge is the development of software that can run on exascale computers. Additionally, there are challenges associated with the hardware required to build an exascale computer. For example, an exascale computer would require a large number of processors and a large amount of memory.
Despite the challenges, there is significant interest in developing exascale computing technologies. Several organizations, including the US Department of Energy and the European Union, are investing resources in this area of research. It is expected that the first exaflop computer will be operational in the early 2020s.
How Exascale computers are being used currently
The world’s most powerful supercomputer, Summit, is now operational at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. It boasts a peak speed of 200 petaflops, or 200 quadrillion calculations per second. That’s five times faster than its predecessor, Tianhe-2, which was the previous record-holder. But Summit is more than just a speed demon. It’s also much more power-efficient, thanks to a combination of new hardware and software.
The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) is using an early form of an exascale computer system to predict the path and strength of hurricanes. The system, known as “WSI Fusion,” was built by a team of IBM, NVIDIA, and Weather Services International (WSI) researchers. It is one of the most powerful weather prediction systems in the world and is capable of calculating the paths of multiple hurricanes simultaneously.
While the NWS has been working on exascale weather prediction for several years, WSI Fusion is the first system that is able to run simulations at such a large scale. The system uses a technique known as “nested grid modeling” to divide the world into tiny cells, each one just a few kilometers across. This allows for much more accurate predictions than traditional weather models, which use larger cells that can be over 100 kilometers across.
WSI Fusion is currently being used to predict the paths of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Jose. The system was able to accurately forecast the track of Hurricane Irma several days in advance, giving people in its path time to evacuate.
Exascale computing is now being used to create artificial intelligence (AI) models that are able to learn and make predictions at speeds and on a scale that was previously unthinkable. This is thanks to the sheer processing power and memory capacity of these machines, which can simulate billions of neurons and billions of connections between them.
This has already led to some impressive results, such as the development of a system that can identify cancerous tumors with almost perfect accuracy, and it is hoped that this technology will lead to even more life-saving breakthroughs in the future. In addition to this, exascale computers are also being used to develop self-driving cars, create more realistic video games, and help scientists understand the Universe better.
Predicting disease outbreaks
While exascale computers are not yet widely available, they are already being used for some important tasks. One of the most important applications is in predicting disease outbreaks.
Using data from weather patterns, travel patterns, and other sources, exascale computers can simulate the spread of diseases with unprecedented accuracy. This information can then be used to develop strategies for containing and responding to outbreaks.
Exascale computers are also being used to model the climate and study the impact of climate change. By understanding how the climate is changing, we can better prepare for the future and mitigate the effects of climate change.
Other uses for exascale computers include studying astrophysical phenomena and developing new materials. As these computers become more powerful, we will only be limited by our imagination in what we can use them for.
How Exascale computers are outpacing old tech
Faster processing speeds
One way exascale computers are outpacing old tech is in terms of processing speed. Exascale computers can perform a mind-boggling quintillion (or one billion billion) calculations per second. That’s about a billion times faster than a standard desktop computer.
With this level of speed, exascale computers can help solve some of the most complex problems in science and engineering. They can also be used to process huge amounts of data, making them ideal for tasks like real-time weather forecasting and climate simulations.
Another way exascale computers are outpacing old tech is in terms of energy efficiency. Exascale computers are designed to be much more energy-efficient than their predecessors.
This is important because one of the biggest challenges facing supercomputers is the amount of energy they consume. Exascale computers use novel architectures and new approaches to computing that help reduce their energy consumption.
For example, many exascale computers use special processors that only consume power when they’re actively being used. This helps to save energy when the computer is idle. Additionally, exascale computers often use innovative cooling systems that don’t require water or other scarce resources.
Exascale computers are equipped with more memory than ever before. This allows for faster processing of data and better performance overall. Old tech cannot keep up with the sheer volume of data that exascale machines can process.
Lower energy consumption
The race to build the world’s first exascale computer is heating up, as developers around the globe strive to create machines that can perform a billion billion calculations per second. Achieving exascale performance is seen as a major milestone in computing, and the race to build an exascale machine has been likened to the space race of the mid-20th century.
While there are many challenges associated with building an exascale machine, one of the most significant is energy consumption. Exascale computers are expected to consume vast amounts of power, and this has led some developers to explore alternative approaches that would lower energy consumption.
One such approach is to use specialized hardware that is designed for energy-efficiency from the ground up. This includes processors that are based on efficient architectures, such as Arm or RISC-V, and GPUs that have been optimized for power efficiency. Other approaches include using novel cooling technologies, such as liquid cooling, to reduce the amount of energy required for cooling the hardware.
It is still early days in the development of exascale machines, and it remains to be seen which approach will ultimately prove most successful. However, it is clear that reducing energy consumption will be a key focus for developers in the years to come.