U.S. Takes Supercomputer Crown From China

Jun 10, 2018
Originally published on June 11, 2018 8:41 am
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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

And before the break, a quick aside on international relations and summits - China and the U.S. regularly spar over trade and foreign policy and now supercomputers. The U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory this past week unveiled the aptly named Summit. Oak Ridge says it's the world's most powerful and smartest scientific supercomputer, taking the top spot from China. The last time a U.S. supercomputer held the crown was in 2012. And get this - Summit has a peak performance of two hundred thousand trillion calculations per second or 200 petaflops - peta what?

OK. Here's an easier way to think about it. If every person on Earth completed one calculation per second, it would take the world population 305 days to do what Summit can do in one second. Whoa. But maybe the United States shouldn't gloat too much about having this computer. China might not have the speediest supercomputer in the world any longer, but according to an industry ranking of the 500 fastest supercomputers in the world, China has the world's most supercomputers overall, with the U.S. in second place. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.