Most supercomputers are focused on pure processing speed. Take the DOE's new Summit system, which is now the world's most powerful supercomputer, with 9,000 22-core IBM Power9 processors and over 27,000 NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs. But processing performance isn't everything. Last year, Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced The Machine, its prototype for a supercomputer built around blazing fast memory. It's meant to churn through tons of data, though it can handle it's fair share of high performance computing (HPC) jobs.
Now, HPE is turning that vision into an actual product: Astra, the largest ARM-based supercomputer ever made. Developed together with the Department of Energy, it's being adopted by the Sandia National Laboratory as an experimental new platform for nuclear research. Since it's powered by Cavium ThunderX2 ARM processors, it's considerably more power efficient and denser (meaning it can fit more hardware) than a comparable x86 system. Notably, that ARM chipset also offers 33 percent faster memory speeds than many x86 CPUs.