The worlds fastest super computer breaks the 100 petaflop barrier

  • Date 27th June 2016
The worlds fastest super computer breaks the 100 petaflop barrier

Last week, the Chinese government unveiled the Sunway TaihuLight, a monster super computer with 10,650,000 cores. What's significant about the machine is was constructed using Chinese designed and built chips, signalling an end to the reliance on the US for high performance chips. It performs at 93 petaflops but has the theoretical output of 123 petaflops.

In a case of mine’s going to bigger than yours, IBM released details of it’s soon-to-be-unveiled new super computer, Summit, commissioned for the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory for early 2018. Summit was originally designed to run at 150 petaflops but now IBM claims it could reach speeds as high as 200 petaflops.

So, what's a petaflop anyway? 

A single petaflop equals about one quadrillion calculations per second. A quadrillion for those who’re also unfamiliar with the term is a 1 followed by 15 zeros i.e. 1,000,000,000,000,000.  

If you compared the 123 petaflop performance of the Sunway TaihuLight to the just released Apple iPad Pro using the A9X chip, you’d need approximately 355,903 iPad Pro’s to deliver the same amount of processing power. To put that into context, the resulting structure would be 108 kilometres tall or about 362 times the height of the Eiffel Tower.


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