The US recaptures world’s fastest supercomputer title with first exaop AI system

The United States has regained its pole position at the fastest supercomputer race with the aptly named Summit.

Making its debut last Friday at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, this mean machine is powered by 27,648 NVIDIA Volta Tensor Core GPUs and can perform more than three exaops, or 3 billion billion calculations per second.

As a point of reference, Summit is more than 100 times faster than Titan, previously the fastest US supercomputer, completed just five years ago.

This supercomputer of supercomputers is built for the US Department of Energy (DOE) and designed to tackle the most demanding challenges. It will accelerate research with its 200 petaflops of computing power for high-precision scientific simulations.


“Summit is a magnificent scientific instrument that will attract the world’s great scientists. Summit is the world’s largest AI supercomputer, a machine that learns. Its software will write software — amazing software that no human can write,” said Jensen Huang, Founder and CEO of NVIDIA.

Among the projects lined up for the new machine are:

  • Cancer research: DOE and National Cancer Institute are working on CANcer Distributed Learning Environment (CANDLE), which aims to develop tools that can automatically extract, analyse and sort health data to reveal previously hidden relationships between disease factors such as genes, biological markers and the environment.
  • Fusion energy: Fusion, the energy source powering the sun, has long been touted for its promise of clean, abundant energy. Summit will be able to model a fusion reactor and its magnetically confined plasma, hastening commercial development.
  • Disease and addiction: Researchers will use AI to identify patterns in the function and evolution of human proteins and cellular systems. These patterns can help scientists better understand Alzheimer’s, heart disease or addiction, and inform the drug discovery process.

Check out the Summit infographic.