Since 2013, Chinese machines have occupied the number one slot in rankings of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. Now America is back on top again. Engineers at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee have just unveiled Summit, a supercomputer with enough processing power to surpass the current record holder, China’s Sunway TaihuLight.
Summit is the first supercomputer designed from the ground up to run AI applications
Summit is also an important stepping stone to the next big prize in computing: machines capable of an exaflop, or a billion billion calculations a second. An international race is on to get to this milestone first, with the US and China considered the two front-runners. The US is looking at building several of these machines, which could cost between $400 million and $600 million each, and has engaged Nvidia, IBM, and other companies such as Intel to help. The aim is to get one or more of these “exascale” computers up and running between 2021 and 2023.
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