Friday, June 8, 2018

"IBM builds world’s most powerful supercomputer to crack AI" (IBM; NVDA)

First rate, focusing not just on the raw speed but the AI capabilities as well.
From the Financial Times, June 8:
An IBM-designed US supercomputer unveiled on Friday is set to leapfrog Chinese competition to become the world’s most powerful for the first time in more than five years. The machine, built by IBM for the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has more than double the capacity of the current world leader, China’s Sunway TaihuLight. But the real significance may lie in something other than its raw processing power: it uses a new computer architecture to handle huge amounts of data for artificial intelligence, rather than being limited to the kind of large-scale modelling and simulations that such systems are normally used for.

Known as Summit, the supercomputer boasts 200 petaflops, or quadrillion floating point operations per second — the main measure for supercomputer capacity. That is about 80 times the processing power claimed for a Chinese system when that country first topped the world supercomputer rankings in 2010. The Summit machine was designed with big data in mind, though on an even more huge scale than the specialised systems used by companies such as Google and Microsoft to handle the data needed to train AI algorithms. 
It breaks new ground among supercomputers as the first to be “designed to be the world’s largest and fastest AI system from the group up”, said John Kelly, head of cognitive solutions and research at IBM. “It will be able to take on some of the biggest AI challenges the world has.” 
Thomas Zacharia, director of Oak Ridge, said the system, which cost about $200m, had already been used to carry out a calculation in an hour that would have taken 30 years on a desktop computer....

See also:
March 2018
Exascale Computers: Competing With China Is About to Get Serious

...The 200 petaflop/second (quadrillions of calculations per second) Summit supercomputer being built at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will blow past the current world's fastest, the 93 petaflop/s Sunway TaihuLight but this latest monster is planned to be five times faster still.

At that point, if you were to use it for, saaay, training artificial intelligence, you are going places that the human mind literally can't comprehend much less forecast or, dream on, guide....
January 2018 
"China set to launch its new supercomputer"
January 2018
With the Summit Supercomputer, U.S. Could Retake Computing’s Top Spot (NVDA)
We've been babbling about this 'puter for three years, usually in the context of its use of NVIDIA GPU's and NV Link connections, more after the jump.
September 2017
"The Astonishing Engineering Behind America's Latest, Greatest Supercomputer"