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IBM's new supercomputer to be world's fastest

Just days after it was reported that China has the world's fastest supercomputer, IBM has unveiled a few details about its upcoming behemoth. The media have already branded it as the computer that will dethrone the Chinese Sunway TaihuLight.

The computer is called Summit. It is expected to reach US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory early 2018, and should have a quarter more computational power than originally intended.

Originally, the machine should have been capable of 150 petaflops. Instead, it will be capable of 200 petaflops. The Chinese Sunway TaihuLight is capable of 93 petaflops, 124.5 at peak performance.

The deal is reportedly worth $325 million.

The machine will owe its power to IBM Power9 microprocessors, and nVidia’s Volta GPUs for maths co-processing. Titan, Summit’s predecessor, has more than 18,000 nodes, while Summit will have around 3,400.

Each node will come with at least 500GB of coherent memory, and 800GB of non-volatile RAM.

“To provide a high rate of I/O throughput, the nodes will be connected in a non-blocking fat-tree using a dual-rail Mellanox EDR InfiniBand interconnect,” Oak Ridge’s website says.

“Upon completion, Summit will allow researchers in all fields of science unprecedented access to solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”

The announcement came just days after it was unveiled that a Chinese-built machine was declared fastest. The most important part of it all was that the machine was built completely from Chinese parts, as an embargo prevents US companies from selling their products in China.

Image Credit: JuliusKielaitis / Shutterstock

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.