For the past 5 years, China's Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer held the record of the world's fastest super computer. But as of June 8, 2018, the world's fastest super computer is OLCF-4 or Summit developed by IBM for use at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a US department of Energy.
IBM claims that Summit is currently the world’s “most powerful and smartest scientific supercomputer” processing 200,000 trillion calculations per second or 200 petaflops.
Supercomputers are typically large, expensive systems featuring tens of thousands of processors designed to carry out specialized calculation-intensive tasks. Summit's initial uses will include areas of astrophysics, cancer research and systems biology.
In the most recent chart of the world's top supercomputers, published in 2017, the US owned 143 of the top 500 while China owned 202.The US's previous fastest supercomputer, Titan, was ranked fifth.
US Titian Supercomputer ranked 5th in the world
US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, speaking at the ORNL event said, "We know we're in a competition and it matters who gets there first. The ability to show the rest of the world that America is back in the game and we're back in the game in a big way is really important. Summit's computing capacity is so powerful that it has the ability to calculate 30 years' worth of data saved on a desktop in one hour... this is about changing the world"
Oak Ridge National Laboratory director Thomas Zacharia said Summit has already proved itself capable of making exascale calculations in some scientific areas. During its installation, scientists used it to make more than 1.8 quintillion calculations in a single second in bio-energy and human health research. Summit's unprecedented computing power will aid scientists in researching energy, advanced materials, artificial intelligence, astrophysics and medicine in ways that were not previously possible.
Summit contains 4,608 computer servers and has more than 10 petabytes of memory. Its high-performance file system and fast data paths allow researchers to get more accurate results faster than ever before. Scientists are already training Summit to read documents and abstract information to identify hidden disease factors like genes, biological markers and environment for cancer surveillance.
The battle is not only between the US and China, but Europe, Japan and other nations to build better supercomputers. These machines aren't just focused on health and environmental research; supercomputers are used for aircraft design and developing nuclear weapons too; for now, the U.S. has reclaimed the world’s fastest supercomputer mantle from China.