Have you heard of the TOP500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers?
In case you haven’t, it’s exactly what it describes, a list of the current top 500 supercomputers – that is, those with the most raw compute power.
For the most part, it’s a U.S. dominated list. The United States currently holds 233 of the 500 spots, an impressive feat no doubt.
Funny thing is, at one point, in November of 2013 to be precise, they held 265 spots. Combine that with the fact that they haven’t held the top spot for a number of years now, and the U.S. has obviously become antsy.
For the moment, the honour of fastest supercomputer goes China’s TIANHE-2 (Milkyway-2) supercomputer, which has held the spot since 2013.
Thanks to its 3.12 million cores and 1 million plus gigabytes of RAM, TIANHE-2 is capable of an impressive 33,862.7 teraflops (or TFlop/s).
33.862 petaflops is insane, but The United States is about to blow that figure out of the water.
According to Extreme Tech, President of The United States, Barack Obama, has given the go-ahead to build the world’s first exascale (1,000 petaflops) supercomputer.
Actually, the order tasks the creation of a “coordinated federal strategy for high-performance computing (HPC) research, development, and deployment”.
The point is to found a National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) that will eventually go on to design and build the exascale supercomputer.
To put that into perspective for you. A PS4’s CPU is capable of 102.4 GFlop/s and its GPU can manage a grand total of 1.843 TFlop/s.
What that means is that you’d need 17,406 (and a half) PS4s just to match the TIANHE-2, and 514,033 and a measly $239.55 million (R3.032 billion) to reach the heights of the exascale beast the U.S. plans to whip up.
Even with AMD’s Radeon R9 Fury X pushing out an incredible 8.6 TFlop/s, you’d still need 116,279 R9 Fury Xs to manage an exaflop.
Silly as exaflop sounds to say, the supercomputer that manages it is anything but.
Source: Extreme Tech, VG Leaks
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