Nvidia GPUs to Power the World's Top Supercomputer

By Beecher Tuttle October 11, 2011

The U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory will use Nvidia chips to power what it hopes will be the fastest and most powerful supercomputer in the world.

The new system, dubbed Titan, should be completed by 2012, putting the U.S. back on pace with Asian countries like China and Japan, which own the top 5 supercomputers in the world, according to the Wall Street Journal. Supercomputers are generally used for research in the fields of material science, energy technology, medical research and geoscience, among others.

Unlike the U.S.'s legacy supercomputers, Titan will be loaded with graphics processing units (GPUs). The Nvidia Tesla GPUs will help enable Titan to deliver over 20 petaflops of peak performance, making it more than two times faster and three times more energy efficient than today's fastest supercomputer, according to the chip maker.

Nvidia also built GPUs for China's "Tianhe-1A" supercomputer, which is currently ranked second on the list of the 500 fastest supercomputers.

Steve Scott, chief technology officer of Tesla products at NVIDIA, said that Oak Ridge's decision to embrace GPU technology for supercomputers – along with similar moves from China and Japan – underscores "the growing belief that GPU-based heterogeneous computing is the best approach to reach exascale computing levels within the next decade."

Scott said that Tesla GPUs will provide over 85 percent of the peak performance of Titan.

Jeff Nichols, associate laboratory director for Computing and Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge, said that the new supercomputer will be used to help develop "more commercially viable biofuels, cleaner burning engines, safer nuclear energy, and more efficient solar power."

The first step in the transition, currently underway, involves upgrading Oak Ridge's current Jaguar supercomputer with 960 Tesla M2090 GPUs based on the Nvidia's "Fermi" architecture. In 2012, the lab will leverage a next-generation Nvidia architecture named "Kepler" to deploy around 18,000 Tesla GPUs, taking Titan to what it hopes will be the top spot among supercomputers.


Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

TechZone360 Contributor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Severed Internet Cables Causing Massive Outages in Bay Area

By: Joe Rizzo    7/2/2015

At 4:20 am. on Tuesday morning, three fiber optic cables providing Internet access to Sacramento were physically cut leaving California's capital with…

Read More

The Future Form of Communication is Telepathy, According to Zuckerberg

By: Joe Rizzo    7/2/2015

"One day, I believe we'll be able to send full rich thoughts to each other directly using technology. You'll just be able to think of something and yo…

Read More

1Gbps Broadband Boosts Economy, Home Prices

By: Tara Seals    7/2/2015

1Gbps services to the home-the new frontier of competition for triple-play providers-turn out to have a measurable economic benefit. A study from the …

Read More

Windy City Takes on Cloud: New Tax on Streaming Media, SaaS and PaaS

By: Laura Stotler    7/1/2015

In a bold and controversial move, the city of Chicago instituted a new cloud tax today that will target online databases as well as popular streaming …

Read More

Practical Step-by-Step Guidance After Your Company Has Been Hacked

By: TMCnet Special Guest    6/30/2015

Everybody tends to think that hackers will never ever target them or their company/organization-until a breach occurs. We have already published sever…

Read More