IBM is not holding much back these days, and it might be because of the impending supercomputer that the Chinese, in cooperation with Cray, are building. The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has announced that the’ll be developing a new supercomputer themselves, called Summit. It’ll be capable of a peak performance of around 200 PFLOPS.

IBM Power 9 Supercomputer

Summit has 200 PFLOPS with IBM’s Power9 and NVIDIA’s Volta using only a scant 10MW

Certainly they don’t want to be outdone, and thus a new plan for something even more powerful was borne. There’s plenty of scientific progress to be made in the areas of fusion, which ORNL is adamantly pursuing. They’ve partnered with IBM and NVIDIA in order to marry IBM’s upcoming Power9 architecture with NVIDIA’s Volta GPU to provide an almost unprecedented raw performance per watt capability. And they expect delivery of the final hardware by 2017.

Currently the ORNL has 18,688 total compute nodes that feature a 16-core AMD Opteron and an NVIDIA Telsa K20x. Not terribly, but certainly not enough compute power to solve modern-day problems. The new system, Summit, will have around 3,400 total nodes with multiple CPUs and Volta GPUs per node, all connected via NVLINK. The whole thing is going to be much smaller, much faster and far better than ever. It’s designed for to help solve those pesky problems that have been plaguing humans since history started being recorded.

“Summit, like Titan, will open a door to new ways to simulate and explore complex systems in the natural world. Our scientific community will see decreased time to solution, along with the ability to increase the complexity of their computational models, improving the simulation fidelity of a wide variety of important phenomena that are beyond the range of conventional experimental investigations.”

— James J. Hack, Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility

IBM Summit Supercomputer