The Department of Energy pulled back the curtain on the world's most powerful supercomputer Friday. When Summit is operating at max capacity, it can run at 200 petaflops -- that's 200 quadrillion calculations per second. That smokes the previous record holder, China's Sunway TaihuLight (which has a 93 petaflop capacity). Summit is also about seven times faster than Titan, the previous US record holder which is housed at the same Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee. For perspective, in one hour, Summit can solve a problem that it would take a desktop computer 30 years to crack.
Summit's 4,608 servers, which take up the size of two tennis courts, house more than 9,000 22-core IBM Power9 processors and more than 27,000 NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs. Cooling the system takes 4,000 gallons of water a minute and Summit uses enough power to run 8,100 homes.
There's a lot more to Summit than simply snatching back a record China's held for five years. It was designed for artificial intelligence operations, and can use machine learning and deep learning to power research into health, physics and climate modeling, among other domains.