The concept of supercomputers is not new. It is a direction that has captured the attention of computer scientists for the last many years. The concept behind supercomputers is basically its speed that exceeds semiconductor technologies in just a matter of nanoseconds. With the concept and technology fully in place, supercomputers are ready to be developed.
After years of research and focusing on speed, these computers will be more efficient data centric super models that will go a long way into creating this next generation of machines. IBM’s project executive said that along with mere speed of the processors, it is also important to build more efficient machines. The data that requires weeks or even months would be processed within minutes and seconds.
The amount of data created by Information Society is huge. According to IBM’s estimates, the world is generating more than 2.5 billion gigabytes of data per day. With these powerful machines, the data will not be required to move as much, rather it will be conducting parallel processing in contrast to serial processing by the central processing unit. They will be able to process huge and complex amount of data like 3D nuclear research information, weather forecast, space information, all within feasible time.
According to the IBM officials, this is the beginning of new era in the science of information technology. One of the hurdles in building these machines is that the metal oxide semiconductor technology is difficult to handle in these systems because of the physical space they take. Also the tremendous amount of power they require and its cooling system that is important to run these machines are also among a few problems to overcome.
The U.S. Department of Energy is granting $425 million for the research and development of these high scale supercomputers. Two basic models of these machines, called Summit and Siera, will be built in laboratories located in Tennessee and California. The technologies will be supplied by Nvidia amd Mellanox and these models will function at 150 petaflops and 100 petaflops, which is almost double and triple the speed when compared to China’s supercomputer called Tianhe-2.
Apart from the projects of Summit and Siera, the department of energy and National Nuclear Security Administration are also funding another $100 million for another project that is called FastForward2. This system will be functioning at around 20 to 40 times faster than current systems of computers.
These supercomputers which are ready to be developed are considered essential part of the science and technology system that U.S. government requires for national, economy and nuclear security. After the completion of Summit and Siera, the IBM is determined to take further steps in creating more supercomputer models which will be used for many other purposes.
These models are expected to be released in next three years. The goal is to build the most effective and most powerful supercomputers that would not only be more advanced than China’s Milky Way but will also be more energy efficient. As these supercomputers are ready to be developed, it is predicted that they will open a new era in the world of information technology.
By Atika Jilani