Summit: How IBM and Oak Ridge laboratory are changing supercomputing

The team designing Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s new Summit supercomputer correctly predicted the rise of data-centric computing – but its builders couldn’t forecast how bad weather would disrupt the delivery of key components.

Nevertheless, almost four years after IBM won the contract to build it, Summit is up and running on schedule. Jack Wells, Director of Science for Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), expects the 200-petaflop machine to be fully operational by early next year.

“It’s the world’s most powerful and largest supercomputer for science,” he said.

Summit was designed for workloads including nuclear physics, seismology and climate science, which typically start with a model and a set of initial conditions and generate huge volumes of data on their way to a solution.

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