Jack Dongarra recently spoke with the Friends of ORNL.

Why American Science Needs Expensive Supercomputers

Jack Dongarra recently spoke with the Friends of ORNL.

Thanks to Frontier, the Department of Energy’s first $600 million exascale supercomputer — which is located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory — the United States ranks first in the Top500 supercomputer list for the number of calculations performed per second. can be performed. But Jack Dongarra noted that China, which has two supercomputers in sixth and ninth place on the list, could overtake the United States’ computing capacity for solving scientific and technological problems.

Dongarra, who holds positions at the University of Tennessee, ORNL, and the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, is this year’s winner of the prestigious AM Turing Award from the Association of Computing Machinery, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in computer science. It has a price of $1 million.

Dongarra recently spoke with Friends of ORNL (FORNL).

Jack Dongarra is photographed in his office at the University of Tennessee on the Knoxville campus on Monday, May 2, 2022.  Dongarra is the Turing Award recipient for 2021.

In 1993, he explained, he provided a software standard or benchmark for evaluating the relative performance of the world’s top 500 supercomputers twice a year by having them solve a problem of solving linear equations. He and two others manage the Top500 list.

Jack Dongarra

Dongarra told FORNL that Border performed calculations at a rate of 1.1 exaflops, or 1.1 trillion calculations per second — that is, a billion times a billion floating point operations per second, or FLOPS (e.g., adding and multiplying numbers with decimal points). Frontier is five times faster than the most powerful supercomputers in use today.

The latest TOP500 list shows that DOE's Frontier supercomputer at ORNL is number 1 in the world.

To help his audience understand the power of Frontier, which takes up the space of two tennis courts, Dongarra suggested we imagine the UT has 60 Neyland stadiums, each with 100,000 filled seats. To do the number of calculations per second you can get on Frontier, you have to give each person a laptop with a capacity of 166 billion FLOPS and connect the laptops in all stadiums.

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