Visual Capitalist took the world's top 5 supercomputers and compared their performance and computing power, measured in teraflops. The most advanced personal computers are far beyond the processing power of supercomputers.
Supercomputer Fugaku is officially the world's most powerful supercomputer. Besides, China is preparing to unveil an even more powerful supercomputer.
A supercomputer is a machine built to handle billions, if not trillions, of calculations at once. Each supercomputer actually consists of many individual computers working together in parallel.
A common metric for measuring the performance of these machines is flops, or floating point operations per second.
This visualization used November 500 data from the TOP2021 to visualize the computing power of the world's top five supercomputers. For additional context, a number of modern consumer devices were included in the comparison.
Sorting by Teraflops
We used teraflops as our benchmark, as supercomputers can achieve more than a quadrillion flops and consumer devices are much less powerful.
1 teraflop = 1.000.000.000.000 (1 trillion) flops.
Sort by teraflops
The supercomputer Fugaku was completed in March 2021, officially making it the world's most powerful supercomputer. It is used for a variety of applications, including weather simulations and innovative drug discovery.
Sunway Taihulight is officially China's top supercomputer and the world's fourth most powerful computer. However, some experts believe the country is already running two much more powerful systems based on data from anonymous sources.
As you can see, the most advanced consumer devices do not come close to supercomputing power. For example, measuring Fugaku requires the combined power of 4.000 Nvidia Titan RTX graphics cards (the most powerful consumer card available).
One of China's undiscovered supercomputers is supposedly called Oceanlite and is said to be the successor to Sunway Taihulight. It is believed to reach 1,3 exaflops, or 1,3 quintillion flops. The chart below makes it easy to keep track of all these big numbers.
In the US, rival chipmakers AMD and Intel have won contracts from the US Department of Energy to build exascale supercomputers. AMD has Frontier and El Capitan, while Intel has Aurora.
The EL Capitan project also includes Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), which claims the supercomputer could reach 2023 exaflops when completed in 2. All this power will be used to support several exciting endeavors. We can list them as follows.
- In enabling advanced simulation and modeling to support the US nuclear stockpile and ensure its reliability and safety.
- In reducing cancer drug discovery from six years to one year through partnership with pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.
- To understand the dynamics and mutations of RAS proteins that are associated with 30% of human cancers.
Altogether, exascale computing represents the ability to perform complex analyzes in seconds rather than hours. This could unlock an even faster pace of innovation.