The world’s first exascale computer, capable of performing a billion operations per second, has been built by Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
A typical laptop is only capable of a few teraflops, or a trillion operations per second, which is a million times less. The exaflop machine, called Frontier, could help solve a range of complex scientific problems, such as accurate climate modeling, nuclear fusion simulation, and drug discovery.
“Frontier will offer modeling and simulation capabilities at the highest level of computing performance,” says Thomas Zacharia at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Frontier’s exaflop performance means that not only is it number one in the TOP500, an international collaboration to rank the world’s most powerful supercomputers, but it also represents a quarter of the computing power of the entire list.
“One machine represents 25 per cent of the total performance of the whole list, so it’s a very, very impressive achievement,” says Simon McIntosh-Smith at the University of Bristol, UK.
Frontier has yet to achieve its final form, either. Over the coming months and years, as its software is optimised, it could reach a theoretical peak of 2 exaflops.
In the past, supercomputing milestones have been shortly followed by many more machines with similar capabilities. While there are several exascale machines planned for the next couple of years, it isn’t clear how widespread this technology might become.
“The rate of improvement in electronics has slowed down somewhat, so we don’t expect exascale machines to proliferate through the TOP500 as quickly as it did for petascale, for example,” says McIntosh-Smith, referring to machines with a thousandth of the capabilities.
According to newscientist.com. Source of photo: internet