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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Supercomputers: the battle of the velocity machines hots up

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Modern smartphones are hundreds of occasions extra highly effective than the supercomputers of some many years in the past. But they’re puny by comparability with the most recent machines. Exascale methods are able to performing multiple billion billion (10¹⁸) operations per second. That is corresponding to aggregating the computing capabilities of all of the cell phones within the EU.

It has taken years of effort to interrupt the exaflop barrier. Confirmation of that achievement by the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge nationwide laboratory is anticipated when the twice-yearly Top 500 itemizing of supercomputers is printed in a couple of weeks’ time. But China reportedly received there greater than a yr in the past.

On the latest rankings, the US is house to 5 of the present high 10 strongest supercomputers on the earth. But its share of the highest 500 computer systems has fallen from greater than half in 2012 to beneath 30 per cent. China now has the largest share whereas Europe’s share has held regular at a couple of fifth. The EU has pooled sources to purchase high-end machines that are sited in Luxembourg, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, Finland and Italy.

The UK is shedding floor. Its share of world high-performance computing capability has greater than halved since 2018 to 2 per cent. A authorities report final yr highlighted the dangers of lagging behind. Systems change into out of date in simply 5 to eight years. Lack of entry to modern computing will hobble many industrial and scientific endeavours.

Some functions are excessive profile. Japan’s supercomputer Fugaku, which at the moment holds the highest spot within the Top 500 rankings, grabbed public consideration when it simulated the unfold of coronavirus from a employee coughing at his desk. Supercomputer-enabled advances in predicting the 3D shapes of proteins have been hailed as a breakthrough that will remodel biology. The UK’s Met Office guarantees its climate forecasting will transfer to the subsequent degree as a brand new extra highly effective machine is rolled out.

Less public is their position in defence and cracking encryption codes. But their potential impression is big. Supercomputers can clear up loads of issues, however the race for supremacy stands to create lots extra.

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Source: www.ft.com

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