US DOE To Build Two NVIDIA GPU-Powered Supercomputers Three Times Faster Than The World’s Fastest

In an effort to give the U.S. a leg up when it comes to supercomputers, the Department of Energy announced its plans to build two GPU-powered supercomputers that will bring the world closer to exascale computing. The DOE is awarding $325 million to build “Summit” for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and “Sierra” at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California while an additional $100 million will go into research for “extreme scale supercomputing” technology.

The supercomputers are expected to be installed in 2017 using next-generation IBM POWER servers coupled with NVIDIA Tesla GPU accelerators and NVIDIA NVLink high-speed GPU interconnect technology. Each one is expected to deliver at least 100 petaflops of compute performance. The machine at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, called the “Summit” system, will be capable of delivering 150 to 300 petaflops that will be used for open science so that researchers will be able to apply for time in order to use the supercomputer. Meanwhile, the “Sierra” system will produce at least 100 peak petaflops for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's national nuclear security mission.

“Our users have the most complex scientific problems and need exceptionally powerful computers to meet national goals,” said Oak Ridge National Laboratory project director of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility Buddy Bland. “The projected performance of Summit would not have been possible without the combination of these technologies, which will give our users an exceptionally powerful tool to accomplish these goals.”

As for how these two new supercomputers will stack up to today's equivalents, both supercomputers will surpass the U.S.’s current speed champ, Oak Ridge’s “Titan,” which provides 27 peak petaflops and will outperform China’s Tianhe-2, which delivers 55 peak petaflops located at China’s National Super Computer Center in Guangzhou.

“Today’s science is tomorrow’s technology,” said NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. “Scientists are tackling massive challenges from quantum to global to galactic scales. Their work relies on increasingly more powerful supercomputers. Through the invention of GPU acceleration, we have paved the path to exascale supercomputing – giving scientists a tool for unimaginable discoveries.” 

With so much computing power available for scientific research, it will be interesting to see how fast research in all fields will be undertaken.