These Are The Most Powerful Supercomputers of The World.

JuanSC
JuanSC
Sep 3, 2020 · 6 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Supercomputer Marenostrum. Source: BSC.

You may never have seen one but supercomputers are very necessary on a day-to-day basis. You may have heard of the expression “supercomputer” but you are not sure what it refers to. These are large computers with high levels of power and performance that are used in genetic, biological, and weapons research. The power has multiplied by more than 100,000 in the last fifteen years and they are capable of working like thousands of computers together to find cures for diseases or to “guess” when a tsunami is going to hit.

But…What Are Supercomputers?

Image for post
Image for post
IBM Summit. Source: Summit.

Supercomputers are computers with characteristics far superior to those we have at home that operates at a high speed, usually measured in petaFLOPS, which translates as a thousand billion operations per second. They can process billions of data per second which makes them useful for practically all kinds of tasks: from predicting a tsunami to finding a cure for coronavirus, searching for planets, etc.

In general, although we will see some of its uses later, they are used for special research, be it laboratories, education, industrial design, or drug research. They are all over the world, cost hundreds of millions of euros and it is expected that in Europe there will be many more in the coming years. Even if you are not used to seeing them, their use is essential for investigations of all kinds.

What Are They Used For?

In terms of physics, they can simulate stellar evolutions or also perform other tasks such as the reproduction of aerodynamic models of what would be military aircraft. They can also be useful in other fields such as biology, medicine, physics, astronomy, geology, zoology.

Most common uses.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

Extending the life of nuclear weapons.

Astrophysics studies.

Sustainability, health, and climate change.

Meteorology.

Atmospheric composition and air quality.

Big Data, the interaction of people with computers.

Biomechanics for simulations of respiratory, cardiovascular systems.

Education.

Engineering simulation.

Drug design.

Geophysics, earthquake simulation.

Analysis of the properties of the surface of our planet.

Bioinformatics and cynical data volume transmission.

Cloud computing and data center optimization.

Social simulation and study of cultural evolution.

Where Are They Located?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Shai Pal on Unsplash

There are more than a thousand supercomputers around the world in a large number of countries. Among them, Spain with its MareNostrum in Barcelona. But most are divided between China, the United States, and Japan, although France, Germany or the Netherlands also have some of the most important.
According to the most recent data, 45.2% of the supercomputers of the 500 best supercomputers in the world. China has 226 devices out of the 500 most powerful devices on the planet.

Marenostrum by Lenovo.

Image for post
Image for post
Marenostrum Barcelona. Source: BSC.

The MareNostrum computer in Barcelona occupies position 37 of the 500 most important and powerful in the world. The first model of this supercomputer was launched in 2004 when IBM (in collaboration with the Lenovo company) signed an agreement with the Government to develop this computer that initially had a power of 42.4 teraflops. But that was more than fifteen years ago.

Currently, work is underway on MareNostrum 5, which is expected to be released at the end of 2020 and will have a price that exceeds 100 million euros. This computer will be 10,000 times higher in power than the 2004 model and up to 17 times higher in power than the current MareNostrum 4. It will reach 300 teraflops and is part of the European Commission’s plans to create a “network of supercomputers” in different territories of the European Union.

These Are The Top Five.

Supercomputer Fugaku by Fujitsu.

Image for post
Image for post
Supercomputer Fugaku. Source: DataCenterDynamics.

Japan has become number one on the list of the most powerful computers in the world thanks to Fugaku, a computer tested in June 2020 that has broken all the statistics measured to date. The Japanese supercomputer has reached a Rmax of 415,530 TFlops / s and a Rpeak of 513,584.7 TFlops / s. The beastly Japanese machine has been ranked as the most powerful in the world thanks to these figures and is located at the RIKER Center for Computational Science research institute, in Kobe.

Summit by IBM.

Image for post
Image for post
Summit. Source: IBM.

Before the appearance of Fugaku, this American supercomputer held the world leader in its hand. It is located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and is powered by IBM POWER9 and NVIDIA Tesla V100 processors. Its Rmax is 148,600 TFlops / s and its Rpeak is 200,794.9 TFlops / s. Summit has been dedicated to identifying patterns that could anticipate the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other genetic or meteorological investigations.

Sierra, Also by IBM.

Image for post
Image for post
Sierra. Source: IBM.

Number three on the list of the most powerful supercomputers in the world is for this machine from IBM, Nvidia, and Mellanox that has achieved a Rmax of 94,640.0 TFlops per second and a Rpeak of 125,712 TFlops per second. It is located at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and has conducted research to ensure the safety of US nuclear weapons, as well as their reliability.

Sunway TaihuLight by NRCPC.

Image for post
Image for post
Sunway. Source: NRCPC.

China is left out of the current podium and has to settle for fourth place in this TOP 500 that classifies the most powerful supercomputers in the world. Despite owning most of the machines that make up this TOP 500, the Chinese are left without the first three seats and their first machine is this Sunway TaihuLight which is located in the Wuxi national supercomputing center. Its data says it returns a Rmax of 93,014.6 TFlops per second and a Rpeak of 125,435.9 TFlops per second.

Tianhe-2A by NUDT.

Image for post
Image for post
Tianhe 2A. Source: NUDT.

Another Chinese computer that is among the most powerful computers in the world is this Tianhe-2A that has Intel Xeon E5–2692 v2 processors and whose power data is 61,444.5 and 100,678.7 TFlops / s in Rmax and Rpeak respectively. It made it to number 1 on the list and was the fastest computer in the world between June 2013 and June 2016. It is located in Guangzhou.

Read more Medium Stories.

Age of Awareness

Stories providing creative, innovative, and sustainable…

Sign up for Age of Awareness - Rethinking the ways we learn

By Age of Awareness

Stories providing creative, innovative, and sustainable changes to the ways we learn  Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

JuanSC

Written by

JuanSC

An engineer from Barcelona. Writing about Apple, Entrepreneurship, Business & Self-Improvement. For exclusive content, IG:@thejuanscword & Tw: @thejuansc

Age of Awareness

Stories providing creative, innovative, and sustainable changes to the ways we learn

JuanSC

Written by

JuanSC

An engineer from Barcelona. Writing about Apple, Entrepreneurship, Business & Self-Improvement. For exclusive content, IG:@thejuanscword & Tw: @thejuansc

Age of Awareness

Stories providing creative, innovative, and sustainable changes to the ways we learn

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store