At the big Supercomputing 19 (SC19) show, Intel, Nvidia, and Cerebras discussed new architectures for faster machines
At this year’s big supercomputing conference, SC19, the top of the list of the fastest machines in the world is unchanged, but there are a number of new technologies being talked about that portend the era of exascale computing—machines theoretically capable of a billion billion (i.e. a quintillion) calculations per second.
As it has been since June of last year, the Summit computer at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is now on top of the Top 500 list, with a sustained theoretical performance of 148.6 petaflops on the High Performance Linpack test used to rank the Top500 list. This machine, built by IBM, has 4,608 nodes, each one equipped with two, 22-core IBM Power 9 CPUs and six Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs, all connected by a Mellanox EDR InfiniBand network. A similar but somewhat smaller system called Sierra at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory comes in second at 94.6 petaflops. In third place is the Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer at China’s National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi. It is powered by Sunway’s SW26010 processors and scores 93 petaflops.
In fact, the entire top 10 on the list is unchanged since June. The most powerful new system comes in at number 25 with a system called the Advanced Multiprocessing Optimized System (AMOS) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Computational Innovations (CCI).
Again, this is an IBM Blue Gene/Q system, with Power 9 CPUs and Nvidia Tesla V100s. This is a smaller, five-rack system with a sustained Linpack maximum of 8 petaflops, according to the list.