Tennessee Lab Near Completion of ‘Most Powerful’ Supercomputer in the US

- September 21, 2017

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory, based in Tennessee, is nearing the ending stages on its development of a massive supercomputer.

Wired reports that the supercomputer named Summit, designed to handle some of the most complex computing problems, like climate change, genomics, drug discovery and materials science, will be running 4,600 nodes, each with one CPU and six GPUs.

It will also be running more than 10 petabytes of DDR4 memory.

According to Oak Ridge, “Summit will be able to address, with greater complexity and higher fidelity, questions concerning who we are, our place on earth, and in our universe.” It will allow researchers “in all fields” to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

Oak Ridge’s previous supercomputer, Titan, has been operating for a mere five years, but the Tennessee laboratory notes that the new system will operate with fewer nodes and yet put out five to 10 times the amount of computing power.

At peak performance, Summit will be capable of 200 petaflops, which is equivalent to “one million billion operations a second.”

Putting out that much computation takes serious power. According to Wired, the company charged with providing power for the Summit supercomputer is preparing enough capacity to power a small city. Summit will use 15 megawatts, which means capacity will need to be at 20 megawatts, which is the equivalent to about 12,000 homes.

The supercomputer will begin its operations sometime next year.


Image source: Peter Nguyen,