The most powerful computer on the planet

The Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has reached speeds of 200 petaflops. Summit will help us model supernovas, pioneer new materials and explore cancer, genetics and the environment — using technologies available to all businesses.

John Kelly, SVP, Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research

Supercomputing is the Formula One of computing. It’s where companies test bleeding-edge technology at an unprecedented scale.

John Kelly, SVP, Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research

Supercomputing is the Formula One of computing. It’s where companies test bleeding-edge technology at an unprecedented scale.

John Kelly, SVP, Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research

 

Summit by the numbers

 
 

200

quadrillion calculations per second

 
 

250

petabytes storage capacity

 
 

9,216

IBM POWER9 CPUs

 

25

gigabytes per second between nodes

 
 

27,648

NVIDIA Tesla GPUs

 

High-performance
computing

HPC provides the computing power to advance AI and to solve big challenges in business, medicine, science and engineering

HPC provides the computing power to advance AI and to solve big challenges in business, medicine, science and engineering

A new kind of supercomputer, designed for data and AI

In March 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded IBM the commission to build two supercomputers.

The mission was to develop a machine 5 to 10 times faster than its predecessor, Titan. Over four years, the DOE worked with a team of IBMers to break through countless technology barriers, building a system with the brawn of 200 petaflops, or quadrillion operations per second, and the brains of AI and deep learning. This means Summit is more than 1 million times more powerful than the fastest laptop, allowing it to sift through thousands and thousands of variables and create models and simulations that can help researchers find answers to the world’s most complex problems. 

Summit (and its sister machine, Sierra, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) represent a major shift from how IBM structured previous systems. IBM developed a new computing architecture that combines high-performance POWER9 CPUs with AI-optimized GPUs from our partner NVIDIA — all linked at extremely high speeds and bandwidth.

In Summit’s new architecture, compute is embedded everywhere data resides, producing incredible speed and creating a system purpose-built for AI. “By building these supercomputers, we are building the world’s leading AI machines,” says Hillery Hunter, IBM Fellow; Director, Accelerated Cognitive Infrastructure.

Another radical shift is that Summit is built with components available to any enterprise — this technology is part of IBM’s product line, available to accelerate every business.

Built to tackle the world’s biggest challenges

Summit will push the boundaries of computing and human understanding.

— Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President, and CEO, IBM

What will we do with 200 petaflops? Here are three sample applications:

Combat cancer

The arrival of Summit gives researchers a powerful boost in the fight against cancer. For example, machine learning algorithms scaled on Summit will help supply medical researchers with a comprehensive view of the U.S. cancer population at a level of detail typically obtained only for clinical trial patients.

Identify next-generation materials

Deep learning on Summit could help scientists identify materials for better batteries, more resilient building materials and more efficient semiconductors. By training algorithms to predict materials’ properties, researchers may answer longstanding questions about materials’ behaviors at atomic scales.

Accelerate understanding of disease

Using a mix of AI techniques, researchers will be able to identify patterns in the function, cooperation, and evolution of human proteins and cellular systems. Greater understanding of how these patterns give rise to clinical phenotypes — observable traits of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease and addiction — will inform the drug discovery process.

Supercomputing at IBM: A brief history

Supercomputing at IBM: A brief history