Visualising the race to build the world’s fastest supercomputers | Infographic News

Of the world’s 10 fastest supercomputers, five are in the United States, two in China, and one each in Japan, Germany, and Italy.

They are the most powerful machines on earth, and are used for everything from researching the best treatments for the coronavirus to revealing the origin of the universe.

Capable of performing quadrillions (the number representing one followed by 15 zeros) of calculations per second, supercomputers are central to the global technology and information race — a particularly fierce race between China and the United States.

How is computing performance measured?

Inside every mobile phone, laptop, and desktop computer is a central processing unit, or central processing unit, often referred to as the brain of a computer.

While a typical computer may have a single central processing unit with one to 16 cores – individual processing units – a supercomputer can have thousands or even millions of cores, each of which allows them to perform highly specialized computer operations.

The speed of a supercomputer is determined by the number of calculations it can perform in one second – known as FLOPs (Floating Point Operations Per Second).

Advances in computing power mean that speed is now measured in teraFLOPs (trillions) and petaFLOPs (quadrillions) of operations per second. To put that in context, the iPhone 11 is at least six times faster than the world’s fastest supercomputer back in 1993.

(Al Jazeera)

The most powerful supercomputer in the world

According to Top500, which ranks computers around the world, as of November 2021, the Fugaku supercomputer located at the RIKEN Center for Computational Science in Kobe, Japan is the world’s fastest supercomputer.

The $1 billion power core has 7630848 cores, consumes 29,899 kilowatts of power, and has a maximum performance of 442,010 teraflops.

Fugaku has at least three times the processing power as the world’s second-fastest computer known as Summit – an IBM-built system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, US, that measured 148,600 TFLOPs.

Of the world’s 10 fastest supercomputers, five are in the United States, two in China, and one each in Japan, Germany, and Italy.

Interactive - the world's most powerful supercomputer(Al Jazeera)

The race to build the world’s fastest supercomputer (1993-2021)

Since 1993, the computational power of supercomputers has increased from 124 GFLOPs to 442,010 TFLOPs – an increase of 3.5 million times.

For most of the 1990s and 2000s, the United States and Japan competed head-to-head for the title of the world’s fastest supercomputer. However, in 2010, China ranked first apart from Japan and the United States for the first time with the introduction of Tianhe-1A, a 2566 TFLOP system built with Intel processors.

The main uses of supercomputers

Supercomputers are excellent at tackling complex problems in a range of fields.

By the total computing power of TFLOPs, the world’s supercomputers are primarily used in scientific research (1,533,466 TFLOPs), industrial applications (762,172 TFLOPs), and academia (376,594 TFLOPs).

Interactivity - the main uses of supercomputers(Al Jazeera)

What are the main technology companies?

The supercomputer market is expected to grow from $37.8 billion in 2020 to $49.4 billion by 2025, according to market research firm Technavio.

The world’s largest supercomputer manufacturer is Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). The Houston, Texas-based multinational has at least 84 operating supercomputers with a combined production of 564,245 TFLOPs. As of 2021, 149 of the world’s 500 most powerful supercomputers were located in the United States.

The second largest supercomputer manufacturer in the world is Japan’s Fujitsu Corporation with a total production of 548,646 of its 14 supercomputers.

In third place is Lenovo. The Chinese tech company has a total production of 459,463 of its 180 supercomputers. As of 2021, there were 173 of the 500 most powerful supercomputers in China.

Interactive - the major manufacturers of supercomputers(Al Jazeera)


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