Have you been wondering what is supercomputing and when did this term start to make news in the cloud computing industry? Let us tell you all about it. Supercomputing is basically a form of high-performance computing that is used to determine or calculate massively complex or data-laden problems using the concentrated compute resources of multiple computer systems working in parallel (supercomputer) to reduce the overall time to discover solutions.
It involves a system, working at the maximum potential performance of any computer, typically measured in Petaflops. Some of its sample use cases include weather, energy, life sciences, and manufacturing. The supercomputer tech comprises supercomputers which are made up of interconnects, I/O systems, memory and processor cores. And unlike traditional computers, the supercomputers use more than one central processing unit (CPU).
The CPUs used by supercomputers are grouped into compute nodes that comprise of a processor or a group of processors—symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) and a memory block. At scale, a supercomputer contains tens of thousands of nodes. These nodes then can collaborate on solving a specific problems, with interconnected communication capabilities. That said, these nodes also use interconnects to communicate with I/O systems, like data storage and networking. And not to forget, the power consumption of these modern supercomputers require cooling systems and suitable facilities to house it all.
Supercomputing and AI
Since supercomputers are often used to run artificial intelligence programs, supercomputing has become synonymous with AI. This is because AI programs require high-performance computing that only supercomputers can offer. In other words, supercomputers can handle the types of workloads typically needed for AI applications.
Did you know that according to the TOP500 list, the world’s fastest supercomputer is Japan’s Fugaku at a speed of 442 petaflops as of June 2021? IBM supercomputers, Summit and Sierra, have taken up the second and third spots, clocking in at 148.8 and 94.6 petaflops!
How Cloud-Based Supercomputing Is Changing R&D
All things said and done, the question that remains is how does cloud-based supercomputing changes R&D. Well, the fact is that cloud has made the processing power of the world’s most powerful computers accessible to a wider range of companies than ever before. Instead of having to architect, engineer, and build a supercomputer, companies can now rent hours on the cloud, making it possible to bring tremendous computational power to bear on R&D.
Now you’re probably wondering where should a company start, what kinds of projects could benefit from this investment, etc… Well, there are a few common uses that have proven to be of value. Evaluating new designs through cloud-based simulation instead of physical prototyping, simulating a product’s interaction with real-world scenarios when physically prototyping is impractical, and predicting the performance of a full range of potential designs. In fact, it also opens up the possibilities for new products and services, which would have previously been impossible or impractical.
Just as enterprise cloud computing created new ways for businesses to engage customers and disruptions from software-as-a-service to mobile computing, supercomputing will open up new possibilities for innovation breakthroughs by accelerating R&D speed and product development by orders of magnitude.
Recommended Read: Adam Selipsky’s New Plan for Cloud Computing Next