Oak Ridge and IBM reveil 200 Petaflop/s Summit supercomputer

8 Jun 2018 Oak Ridge - The U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory unveiled the Summit supercomputer as the world's most powerful HPC system. With a peak performance of 200 Petaflop/s, Summit will be eight times more powerful than ORNL's previous top-ranked system, Titan. For certain scientific applications, Summit will also be capable of more than three billion billion mixed precision calculations per second, or 3,3 exaops. Summit will provide unprecedented computing power for research in energy, advanced materials and artificial intelligence (AI), among other domains, enabling scientific discoveries that were previously impractical or impossible. The Summit's peak performance of 200 Petaflop/s is considerably higher than the 125 Petaflop/s of the current fastest supercomputer in the TOP500 list: the Sunway TaihuLight with 125 Petaflop/s. Whether the Summit will take the crown in the TOP500 remains to be seen as no LINPACK performance numbers have been revealed yet. We could expect roughly some 120 Petaflop/s of LINPACK performance, so it is very likely.

The IBM AC922 system consists of 4.608 compute servers, each containing two 22-core IBM Power9 processors and six NVIDIA Tesla V100 graphics processing unit accelerators, interconnected with dual-rail Mellanox EDR 100Gb/s InfiniBand. Summit also possesses more than 10 petabytes of memory paired with fast, high-bandwidth pathways for efficient data movement. The combination of cutting-edge hardware and robust data subsystems marks an evolution of the hybrid CPU-GPU architecture successfully pioneered by the 27 Petaflop/s Titan in 2012.

ORNL researchers have figured out how to harness the power and intelligence of Summit's state-of-art architecture to successfully run the world's first exascale scientific calculation. A team of scientists led by ORNL's Dan Jacobson and Wayne Joubert has leveraged the intelligence of the machine to run a 1,88 exaops comparative genomics calculation relevant to research in bioenergy and human health. The mixed precision exaops calculation produced identical results to more time-consuming 64-bit calculations previously run on Titan.

In addition to scientific modelling and simulation, Summit offers new opportunities for the integration of AI and scientific discovery, enabling researchers to apply techniques like machine learning and deep learning to problems in human health, high-energy physics, materials discovery and other areas. Summit allows DOE and ORNL to respond to the White House Artificial Intelligence for America initiative.

Summit moves the USA one step closer to the goal of developing and delivering a fully capable exascale computing ecosystem for broad scientific use by 2021, two year's ahead of Europe's EuroHPC plans, and similar timeline for China.

Summit will be open to select projects this year while ORNL and IBM work through the acceptance process for the machine. In 2019, the bulk of access to the IBM system will go to research teams selected through DOE's Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment, or INCITE, programme.

Ad Emmen