A $200-million, water-cooled monster that covers an area the size of two tennis courts, the computer, dubbed “Summit,” has been clocked at handling 200 quadrillion calculations a second (or 200 petaflops). That’s more than twice as fast as the previous record-holder, China’s 93-petaflop Sunway TaihuLight, and so fast that it would take every person on Earth doing one calculation a second for 305 days to do what Summit can do in a single second.
Summit gives the U.S. bragging rights. More important, it gives scientists a new tool to conduct research that is all but impossible to do with other supercomputers.
“My hopes are that we are able to attract the world’s best scientists to work on their dream problems,” says Jack Wells, director of science at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility. “To open up venues people thought were not possible in this time frame, to solve problems that people thought were 20 years away in the next five years.”