Not for regular practice because of its usage and immobility, but a Supercomputer is certainly of great importance in today’s world. A gigantic machine racking up an entire room with myriad number of wires and buttons, this isn’t something one would prefer for their daily works, but on higher levels it has its own advantages.
What is a Supercomputer?
A Supercomputer is basically a computer with a very high-level computational capacity. It is expensive and requires a lot of space, as the name suggests. Though huge but it has great user advantages. They are employed for specialized applications that require immense mathematical calculations. It’s best suited for weather forecasting, animated graphics, dynamic calculations, cryptanalysis and nuclear energy research and petroleum exploration.
The performance of a supercomputer is measured in floating points per second (Flops). With the turbulent advancement in the technology in the recent years, we are now able to access supercomputers with quadrillion floating points called Petaflops.
The Top 5 Supercomputers in the world are:
1. Mira in USA
Mira is a Blue Gene/Q based system with 48 racks and 786,432processors. It weighs 104 tons and has reached 8.59 petaflops per second.
Usage: It assists research in earthquake modelling, quantum mechanics, effects of cloud on the climate and material sciences.
2. K Computer in Japan
Twice the top 500 champion, K computer holds the number 4 position. It acheived10.51 petaflops/s and was the first computer to achieve 10Petaflops/second. Seeing Japan’s technological advancements this might not come as a surprise.
Usage: K supercomputer is used in numerous areas like drug discovery, earthquake/tsunami research, weather forecasting and space science. Its fast calculation speed allows high-resolution simulations, something which wasn’t possible earlier.
3. Sequoia in USA
Consisting of 96 racks and 98,304 compute nodes, Sequoia holds the third position. In 2012 it topped the top500 list. It achieved 17.17 Petaflops/second. It is one of the most energy efficient systems on the list.
Usage: The National Nuclear Security Administration uses it to research the safety, security and reliability of the country’s nuclear deterrent. It replaces the need for underground testing.
4. Titan In USA
The titan supercomputer, a Cray XK7 system is the runner up with 17.59 petaflops.
Usage: Titan is basically used for scientific purposes. It has the potential to exploit the hybrid architecture. It dealt mostly with molecular scale physics or climate models. Its modifications increases the degree of parallelism. The changes often yields great performances.
5. Tianhe-2 in China
This is the second time China has bagged the first place in Top 500 after Tianhe-1. Also known as Milky wave 2, it is the world’s number one system with a performance of 33.86 Petaflops/second. Its 16000 nodes with 88GB per node is a great memory boost.
Usage: It is used for simulations, analysis and government security applications. Though it is at the frontline for its great calculation capacity, but the utility of the US and Japan based supercomputers is still favoured by many.
Though USA has one of the finest leading technologies in the world, China here is taking the lead. Tianhe-2 Supercomputer is certainly by far the best supercomputer in the world.