IBM Scientists in Tennessee in the United States, have unveiled a set of supercomputers that could solve mathematic solutions the entire world population will grapple with in 305 days, in one second.
The computers can also calculate in 1 second what would take an individual 6 billion years.
The IBM AC922 system, known as “Summit”, which fills a server room, or the size of two tennis courts, can answer 200 quadrillion (or 200 with 15 zeros) calculations per second, or 200 petaflops, according to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where the supercomputer resides.
“If every person on Earth completed one calculation per second, it would take the world population 305 days to do what Summit can do in 1 second,” according to an ORNL statement.
It means that if one person were to run the calculations, hypothetically, it would take 2.3 trillion days, or 6.35 billion years.
The former “world’s fastest supercomputer,” in China, called Sunway TaihuLight, can perform 93,000 calculations a second (93 petaflops).
The supercomputer is made up of 4,608 computer servers, — each comprising processors (the brains of the computer). But what the processors do, is what makes the difference.
“Summit’s computer architecture is quite different from what we have had before”, Daniel Jacobson, a computational biologist at ORNL, who is working on Summit, told Live Science.
“For one thing, the computer uses the new Tensor Core feature in its graphics cards, which is designed specifically for applications focusing on machine learning and artificial intelligence, AI, and to be fast”
Unlike older computer chips, these chips are optimized for a special type of mathematical operation on matrices — or rectangles filled with numbers with rules for adding, subtracting and multiplying the different rows and columns.
“This is a brand-new feature that has allowed us to break the exascale barrier”, Jacobson said further, referring to a processing speed that’s over a billion calculations per second.
In addition, Summit has loads of superfast memory (RAM) available on each of its nodes, where localized calculations can take place.
“Each node on Summit has 512 Gb (gigabytes) of RAM, and the network that communicates between nodes uses adaptive routing, and is thus incredibly fast, which helps us scale the calculation across all the nodes very efficiently,” Jacobson added.
However, to keep Summit from overheating, more than 4,000 gallons of water is pumped through its cooling system every minute, according to the laboratory.