The Meaning of Computer and Supercomputer
A computer is an electronic device that’s capable of processing and interpreting data to give output; this is the common definition of a computer in our high schools.
Ever since the computer has been invented by Charles Babbage, although in what could not be regarded as the modern computer that we use today, it has evolved beyond just processing data, become so relevant as good as a man in every sphere of life.
The computer has found itself being deployed and used in Education, law, arts, engineering, science, health, accounting, used in almost all companies in the world performing simple tasks to complex ones and it’s become a common household tool with almost 2 billion computers that are used in the world.
What is Supercomputer and what is it used for?
Computer’s performance is measured in MIPS, meaning, a million instructions per second but today, we have a supercomputer which is known as a high-performance computer (HPC), the set of biggest, largest and fastest computers in the world with high processors that are capable of processing quadrillion of FLOPS. Its performance is generally measured in floating-point operations per second and some in P(eta)FLOPS.
After the supercomputer was introduced in the middle nineteenth century by an American electric engineer, Seymour Roger Cray (the father of supercomputing), the supercomputer industry has started attracting funds across Europe and Asia since these machines can perform multiple tasks that hundreds of thousands of humans can not perform at a time.
What are Supercomputers used for
Supercomputers are so much relied upon for weather and climate-related research, monitoring of storms and forecasting, Oil & gas exploration, mechanics, aerodynamics, medicine etc.. and their tasks are dedicated.
The Top 10 Most Powerful Supercomputers in the World today
Position Number 10
Fujitsu (Project Name: Shaheen-II)
Shaheen-II is the current tenth fastest supercomputer in the world, operated by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia with high-performance computing of 5,537,000 gflop/S.
Shaheen-II has become one of the TOP500 fastest supercomputers in the world since its development in 1993 and was not excluded even in 1995, becoming three of the computers in the top 10. Japan’s Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI) had devalued the list in 2008.
Now, it’s likely JAERI could come back to have an agreement to buy a Silicon Graphics ice X system with a theoretical high computing speed of 2.4 p(eta)FLOPS, which could make it jump the scale to the top 30 fastest supercomputers in the recent world’s best computer.
9. Cray XC40 (Project Name: Hazel Hen)
Hazel Hen supercomputer is developed by Cray Inc and installed in the High-Performance Computing Center (HLRS) and also a member of Gauss Centre Computing in Stuttgart, Germany and the supercomputer is built on Cray XC40, powered by Intel Xeon E5-2680v3 12C 2.5GHz, and Aries interconnect technology, similar to Shaheen II.
Hazel Hen has 185,088 processing cores, even though it’s less than Shaheen processor cores, Hazel Hen is said to have higher performance than the Shaheen-II at performance computing power of Rmax 5,640.2 TFlop/s and Rpeak of 7,403.5 TFlop/s. Its power usage was not also disclosed.
8. Piz Daint
Piz Daint is a supercomputer that took her name after the mountain Pix Daint and it was installed in the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre, Switzerland.
Piz Daint was first launched in April 2012 and was later upgraded in 2016 when it advanced from just 12 computer booths to 28, which helps its theoretical Rpeak performance speed and went higher to 6.3 petaflops.
This supercomputer is developed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and it’s installed in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
The developer consists of Cray XC40, Intel Xeon E5-2698v3 16C 2.3GHz, Aries interconnect technology. Trinity has 301,056 processing cores and Rmax of 8,100.9 TFlop/s, Rpeak of 11,078.9 TFlop/s and its power usage is undisclosed.
Mira was created by the Argonne National Laboratory, in the U.S. and has 78,000 cores processors, being able to make 10,000 quadrillion calculations per second.
The purpose of its development is to understand the movement of the galaxies and to follow the movement of the particles that form the universe.
5. K Computer
K computer was developed by the Fujitsu Computer Group and a Japanese research institute and it’s Japan’s fastest supercomputer, installed in Riken Advanced Institute of Computational Science campus in Kobe.
K supercomputer has 88,128 processor cores and achieved a mark of 10.51 petaFLOPS, meaning that, it can perform 10,510 trillion floating-point operations per second.
The supercomputer is good for meteorologists in climate and weather research and forecasts to prevent, disasters such as earthquakes, eruptions on the earth surface etc and soon, it will be used in medicine as well.
4. IBM Sequoia
Sequoia is a supercomputer that’s developed by International Business Machine Corporation (IBM) for National Nuclear Security Administration in the United States and it was delivered to Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL).
Sequoia is established in the state of California, United States and was commissioned in 2011 but become fully operational in 2012.
It operates on CNK operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and I bm Sequoia belongs to the type of IBM Blue Gene/Q computers which has a high computing performance of 16.3 petaflops per seconds (floating-point operations per second), the unit measurement of supercomputer computing performance speed.
With this high computing speed, the IBM Sequoia supercomputer can calculate the same as about 6,700,000,000 people with a calculator in an hour over some time of 320 years.
Titan supercomputer is developed by Cray Inc. (an American company dedicated to the manufacture of this type of technology) for Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Cray Titan has 299,008 processing cores with 18,688 AMD Opteron CPUs and has the same amount of GPUs Tesla K20x for each microprocessor, with RAM size that’s more than 710 TIB, 10 PB of storage and has more than 10,000 hard disks of 1 TB at 7200 pm.
This kind of supercomputer is designed to research natural phenomena by developing virtual models, for example, of storms, molecules physics or any scientific requirement, such as those required in medicine. These are what this supercomputer is used for.
Former China’s and the world’s best and fastest supercomputer is now the second on the list.
Tianhe-2 is developed jointly by the National University of Defense Technology of China (NUDT) and the Chinese company, Inspur.
Tianhe-2 has high-performance computing of 33.86 petaFLOPS, meaning, it’s designed to make 33,860,000,000,000,000 floating-point operations in just one second, with a theoretical peak of 54.9 petaflops that makes it the second-fastest supercomputer in the world.
Tianhe-2 is powered with 16,000 nodes and each of it is having two Intel Xeon processors Ivybridge E5-2692 (12 cores, 2.2 GHz) and three Intel Xeon processors Phi 31S1P (57 cores, 1.1 GHz) and the combination has a total of 3,120,000 computing cores.
The Chinese supercomputer uses Kylin Linux operating system and is capable of storing 12.4 PB with its system memory of 1,375 TIB (1.34 GDP).
It also occupies an area of 720 m² and is estimated to have cost between $200,000,000 and $300,000,000.
No 1. The 93 petaflops Sunway TaihuLight
It is no more news that China has overtaken the US in the top 500 best efficient supercomputers in the world.
This supercomputer is established at the National Supercomputing Centre in Wuxi.
The computer can perform 93,000 trillion calculations in a second, which is its peak. This is faster and efficient in operation more than Tianhe-2 and can process 100% of information more than Tianhe-2.
It’s mostly used in huge manufacturing industries for huge data analyses, forecasting weather etc.
Its processing cores and more than 10 million and almost 50,000 nodes run on Linux based OS.
Presently, the 2 best supercomputers are now installed in China, built by the Chinese computer engineers while the US still has 3 supercomputers in the 5 best supercomputers in the world.