Although you can Build yourself Supercomputers, it does cost millions when its built as a nation’s pride.
The Tianhe-1A, meaning Milky Way, was designed by the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) in China. It is the work of 200 scientists, that makes groundbreaking performance record of 2.507 petaflops, or quatrillion calculations per second, making it the fastest system in the world today. Ordinarily the computer runs at 563.1 teraflops, or trillion calculations per second.
This giant comfortably costed over $88 million.
Compare this: as of June 2010, the 500 fastest supercomputers in the world combine for 32.4 petaflops of computing power and Chinese new supercomputer does 2.5 petaflops alone.
The whole system weighs 155-ton and is cooled by 103 refrigerator-like cabinets lined up on an area of about 1,000 square meters. The Tianhe-1A will be employed in calculations of seismic data for oil exploration, conduct bio-medical computing and help design aerospace vehicles.
Tianhe-1A is powered by 7,168 Nvidia Tesla M2050 GPUs and 14,336 Intel Xeon CPUs. But the design is intuitive enough to beat 50,000 CPUs & half the floor space.
The second best, Cray XT5 Jaguar system has more than 19000 computers and 224,000 CPUs based on AMDs.
The performance scale was definitely not possible without GPUs. GPUs are redefining high performance computing. With the Tianhe-1A, GPUs now power two of the top three fastest computers in the world today. These GPU supercomputers are essential tools for scientists looking to turbocharge their rate of discovery.
Its not worlds Greenest Supercomputer, but Tianhe-1A is energy efficient, saving enough power to provide electricity to over 5,000 homes for a year, Tianhe-1A consumes only 4.04 megawatts, making it 3 times more power efficient compared to a 2.507 petaflop system built entirely with CPUs that would consume more than 12 megawatts. However, affording its yearly bill still means $2.7 million hole.
The battle to build the fastest supercomputer has become a point of national pride as these high performance computers are used in a areas like defense, energy, finance, science. They are also used for drug discovery, hurricane and tsunami modeling, cancer research, car design, and studying the formation of galaxies.
Of the world’s fastest 500 supercomputers, the United States has 291, while Europe has 145 and Asia 49.
UPDATE: World’s Fastest Supercomputer – IBM’s Mira US owns the crown, again.