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What Do You Know About Exascale Computing?

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What Do You Know About Exascale Computing?

Exascale Computing

A measure of supercomputer capability, exascale computing is defined as computing systems capable of doing at least “1018 IEEE 754 Double Precision (64-bit) operations (multiplications and/or additions) per second (exaFLOPS)”.

Exascale computing has been a major step forward in computer engineering. One of its key benefits is its enhancement to scientific applications, particularly in areas like personalized medicine, climate modelling, and weather forecasting.

 Additionally, exascale accomplishes what the now-defunct Human Brain Project aimed for: it surpasses the human brain’s estimated neuron-level processing power. A race has broken out among nations vying to be the first to construct an exascale computer, usually in the top 500.

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How Does Exascale Computing Work?

Exascale computing is a new level of supercomputing that can perform floating-point operations at least one exaflop per second, supporting the massive workloads of convergent modelling, simulation, artificial intelligence, and analytics.

  • How will exascale computing improve things. The ability to solve problems of extraordinarily high complexity is the foundation of exascale computing’s main advantages.
  • New scientific findings: The field of scientific technology is dynamic and subject to continual change. As more studies, validations, and advances add to the ever-increasing body of knowledge, supercomputing becomes increasingly essential. 
  • Exascale computing can only provide the power to regulate unstable chemicals and materials, answer chemical elements’ origins, validate natural rules, and probe particle physics. Thanks to supercomputing, researchers have been able to examine and analyze these topics, leading to scientific breakthroughs that were previously impossible.
  • Supercomputing is in high demand within the security sector. Exascale computing improves food production, urban planning, and disaster recovery. It also helps us withstand new physical and cyber threats to national, energy, and economic security.
  • The ability of exascale computing to analyze dangerous surroundings and respond intelligently to threats is a boon to national security. This kind of computation tackles countless dangers and challenges to national security at almost unfathomable speeds.
  • Exascale computing makes energy security a realistic goal by facilitating the study of stress-resistant crops and aiding in developing low-emission technology. Providing reliable food and energy sources is integral to the country’s security measures.
  • Exascale computing improves economic security in multiple ways. It makes it possible to anticipate seismic activity and develop proactive solutions, two natural disaster risk assessment examples. Supercomputing is also helpful for urban planning because it helps with plans for effective power use and electric grid development.
  • Exascale computing has enormous potential applications in healthcare, particularly in cancer research. Cancer research has seen a dramatic acceleration and revolution of key processes thanks to prediction models for medication reactions and intelligent automation capability.

Advanced Computing

Exascale Computing

Exascale Computing: What Makes it Significant?

If we want better decision-making and a more profound knowledge of the cosmos, we need to grow in the applied sciences. Exascale computing, also called exascale supercomputing, must expedite this comprehension.

  •  By analyzing data using exascale supercomputing, researchers in the scientific and engineering communities may advance our understanding of the world and pave the way for game-changing discoveries in these fields.
  • The need to extend and increase Supercomputing capacities is increasing, as is the prevalence of Exascale computing. The same goes for maintaining worldwide leadership in science and technology.
  •  Integrating modelling and simulation, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI) has made existing computers exponentially more potent.
  • Exascale computing propels rapid progress in our societies’ technological and scientific infrastructures. Due to the immense power of these machines, society around the globe is experiencing rapid changes in its moral frameworks and sustainability expectations, which necessitates their responsible use. Thanks to exascale computing, we are finding answers to seemingly intractable issues.

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Explain the Process of Exascale Computing.

Exascale computing systems mimic the processes and interactions of the universe’s fundamental forces by analyzing and solving at a rate of one million,000,000,000,000 floating point operations per second (FLOPS).

Today’s converged modelling, analytics, simulation, and AI workloads place enormous demands on these custom-built supercomputers. Exascale supercomputers ensure performance reliability by integrating several processing devices into a single infrastructure, including multi-socket nodes, 

CPUs and GPUs of multiple generations, and more. Computer architecture is crucial to supporting your organization’s demands due to the continual evolution of workloads. With a unified framework for management and app development and a variety of silicon processing options, supercomputers are a reality.

Computers that can solve the most challenging scientific problems are essential. Regardless of the enormous quantity of hardware and components utilized to construct them, exascale computers can swiftly and efficiently transfer data between processors and storage, allowing them to answer these queries.

Comparing Exascale and Quantum Computing

Exascale Data Processing

In exascale computing, a potent supercomputing technique, computers employ an architecture of central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs) to process and analyze data at a rate of billions of calculations per second. This kind of computing is run by digital systems that work with the world’s most robust hardware.

The Future of Computing: Quantum

Due to quantum systems’ simultaneous use of binary codes, quantum computing does not belong to the realm of conventional computing technologies. This method relies on the principles of quantum theory in physics, which provide the simultaneous occurrence of super-positioning and entanglement of coding, enabling the analysis and solution of issues.

At this time, exascale computing can process and solve issues, inform, and deliver technological advancements at a velocity that quantum computing cannot match. But quantum computing is heading toward significantly more computing power than exascale. Unlike exascale supercomputers, quantum computing uses far less energy to run the same workloads.

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Explain What an Exascale Computer Is.

Exascale Computing

Warehouse and research facilities sometimes host exascale computers, which are enormous computer systems housed in cabinets. Although governments often hold these computers, major businesses do as well. 

Because of the prohibitive construction cost, scientists and researchers usually rely on grants to finance the rental of exascale supercomputers.

Because of the extreme processing power required, computer systems with exascale computing capabilities produce enormous quantities of heat. For optimal performance, they need specialized cooling mechanisms built into the systems and racks or to be kept in icy environments.

 Exascale computers differ from other supercomputers and quantum computers because they are digital computers with the maximum capacity and the most powerful hardware.

By simulating atomic-scale interactions and other basic physical rules, exascale computers are helping us learn more about the cosmos and everything in it. 

Numerous sectors use this capacity to comprehend, foretell, and construct the world of tomorrow. When scientists at NOAA want to get better at predicting the weather, they look at every possible combination of wind, clouds, rain, and other atmospheric phenomena to determine the consequences of each component, right down to the atomic level.

All forces acting on a specific environment at a specific time are computed using elementary mathematical equations, and the precision is down to the millisecond. Trons of assembled mathematical equations compute and analyze these seemingly fundamental interactions, rapidly producing billions of combinations. 

Such a rate of calculation requires an exascale computer. The results of the computations provide a model or representation of the nature of each interaction, which can be used to learn more about the cosmos. When preparing for future problems, exascale supercomputers are invaluable tools.

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HPE and Supercomputers

With their ground-breaking capabilities, HPE Cray EX supercomputers answer ground-breaking problems and pave the way for a new age of scientific discovery and technological advancement.

 Their construction with direct liquid-cooling (DLC) and zero moving parts ensures maximum sustainability without sacrificing performance, even under the most demanding and complicated workloads. 

The infrastructure can grow with new innovations and upgrades in computing environments thanks to its flexibility to mix generations of CPUs and GPUs.

The HPE Cray supercomputer is another HPE option. It comes in a 2U compute server with the usual 19-inch rack layout. Please remember that “A minor system with the same features as HPE Cray EX systems” can be implemented with this option. With the ability to expand for future improved performance needs, this system is perfect for enterprises incorporating supercomputing into their data infrastructure evolutionarily.

Utilizing a combination of AMD EPYCTM CPUs and AMD InstinctTM GPUs, HPE Cray supercomputers can tackle the most massive datasets with lightning speed and unparalleled performance, meeting the demands of enterprises grappling with critical issues. 

In addition, your company may construct the best supercomputing environment with HPE Slingshot by bridging the gap between cloud computing, data centres, and supercomputing.

How Fast is a Computer?

Exascale Computing

Scientists use the floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) metric to measure the speed of computers. These basic mathematical operations involve numbers with decimals, such as 3.5, like adding or multiplying. 

It usually takes a human being one second, or 1 FLOPS, to solve an operation like addition using a pencil and paper. Computing these tasks is much quicker for computers. Scientists utilize prefixes to describe how quick they are because of how fast they are.

One trillion operations per second, or teraFLOPS, is the maximum capacity of a standard laptop.

A Supercomputer Is…

Around three megaFLOPS or three million floating-point operations per second, the first supercomputer was built in 1964.

Ever since there has been an ongoing arms race between research groups to create faster computers. The US Department of Energy’s Intel ASCI Red supercomputer reached 1.06 teraFLOPS in 1996, marking the terascale milestone—12 zeroes—in computing.

 When it was reported running 1.026 petaFLOPS in 2008, the Roadrunner supercomputer became the first to pass the petascale milestone, which is 15 zeroes.

Compared to ASCI Red’s top performance, exascale computing is over a million times quicker. When you hear the word “exa,” it indicates eighteen zeros. Therefore, an exascale computer is capable of more than 1 exaFLOPS, or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 FLOPS. To put the power of an exascale computer into perspective, it would take a human 31,688,765,000 years to accomplish the same amount of work as an exascale computer can in only one second.

The world’s fastest supercomputer, the Frontier at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, achieved a clock speed of 1.1 exaFLOPS in May 2022, making it the first exascale computer ever recorded. Frontier can theoretically achieve a peak performance of two exaFLOPS in the following years.

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Could Exascale Computing Have an Impact on Which Industries?

With the advent of exascale computing, researchers can tackle formerly intractable issues. Exascale computing has the potential to revolutionize numerous fields, including but not limited to engineering, materials science, heavy industry, chemical design, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), earthquake risk assessment, cancer research and treatment, storage and transmission of energy, and many more. Possible applications of exascale computing include the following:

  1. Sustainable power. Build more robust renewable energy systems with the help of exascale computing. For instance, new materials created with exascale computation can withstand harsh conditions and adjust to shifts in the water cycle.
  2. Studying health. Exascale computing can help analyze complex environmental data sets, which are unanalyzed enormously. Cancer research can also benefit from its use in assessing tumour genomes, patient genetics, molecular simulations, and other fields.
  3. Making things. Because exascale computing enables faster and more precise modelling and simulation of manufacturing components, it can speed up the adoption of additive manufacturing.

What Are the Applications of Exascale Computing?

Nanoscience, precision medicine, climate research, and national security are just a few fields that have significantly benefited from the advent of exascale computing.

Accessing these systems and utilizing this technology can solve some of the universe’s greatest mysteries. Scientists typically have to apply for grants because they are controlled by large corporations or government agencies and cost millions.

 Carnegie Mellon University associate research professor of electrical and computer engineering George Amvrosiadis said that people are interested in learning about star explosions, the interactions between different drug molecules and the body, the process of injecting fuel into an engine, and methods for evaluating the performance and “Safety of nuclear weapons without nuclear explosive testing.”

Exascale computing “allows us to execute complex simulations and analyses that would be too costly, dangerous or even impossible to conduct in real life,” Amvrosiadis, a member of the Parallel Data Lab, told Built In.

In fact, exascale computing unlocks a world of unimaginable knowledge through improved and accelerated science on a massive scale, leading to the cure for intractable diseases, the generation of clean, carbon-negative energy, and the reversal of climate change.

The Drawbacks of Exascale Information Processing

Exascale Computing

Electricity Usage

Powering exascale systems is no small feat, but with their massive size and arrays of high-performance components, They are so well-designed that they incorporate liquid cooling systems. With a total output of 22.7 MW, the fastest supercomputer in the world generates 20 MW/exaflop. You could run a jet engine or a small American town on that.

Transferring Data

Many separate components operate in tandem with an existing system. Minimizing data and optimizing communication between networked nodes and processors are critical for top performance. The efficiency of data transfer rates, latency, and bandwidth is crucial for the operation of these enormous systems.

According to Ochoa, “it’s improbable for the entire system to operate without issues at any given time” because of the many components existing systems will use. “It is essential that the hardware, system software, and applications can withstand both small errors and catastrophic failures.”

Exorbitant Price

Government entities or conglomerates typically own exascale computer centres due to their high running costs. They necessitate specific hardware, infrastructure, and energy requirements and continuing operational costs. 

Most organizations exascale computing due to the high initial expenditure. Even though Frontier cost $600 million to construct, it costs an extra $100 million a year to keep running. The Department of Energy has announced three exascale projects with a total budget of $1.8 billion, including this one.

Safety Measures

A cybercriminal sees every node in a network as a potential entry point. Its thousands of interconnected nodes enhance an exascale computer’s computational performance. However, this increased performance comes at the cost of a large attack surface, and the system becomes more vulnerable to security risks like cyberattacks, data breaches, and unauthorized access.

Reasons Why it’s Challenging to Construct Fast Computers

It would be naïve to assume that a fast enough system could be achieved by connecting a sufficient number of ordinary computers and memory. Having said that, it is not so. Adding 1,000 vehicles or engines to an existing fleet won’t make it any more powerful or faster, and it will also increase emissions, pollution, and fuel consumption by a factor of ten. 

Instead, alternative methods would have to be employed to accomplish such objectives.

Computers face similar obstacles. Moving data from memory to a computation unit, processing it, and storing the findings is the most fundamental way a computer operates. 

All the data transfer for an Exascale computer would require about as much energy as the entire United Kingdom if the connection between memory and computation units were made using conventional PC technology. 

For this reason, storing data near the CPU unit is an encouraging strategy for building Exascale computers. Adding a third dimension to the conventional two-dimensional electric circuit layout by stacking integrated circuits is one way to bring data closer to the processing unit. 

Not only will this be far quicker, but it will also use significantly less energy: Similar to the lag time between sluggish airport security checks and rapid flights, data transit has recently emerged as a critical bottleneck in processing speed, outweighing computation.

 When data must be stored in more than one location, an Exascale computer would require massive memory and processing power, with lightning-fast connections between all units. Finding ways to leverage mass-produced (and non-HPC) components is paramount because inventing and producing such innovative computing units is exceptionally costly.

Answers to Common Questions

What is the purpose of the exascale?

To expedite scientific discoveries and address some of society’s most critical problems, exascale computing analyzes enormous amounts of data at extremely high speeds to produce better simulations and predictive analyses. Improved disease models for precision treatment, more robust national defence, new energy sources, and averting climate change are all possible outcomes of using these findings.

Are there any existing computers?

Indeed, Frontier, the first exascale computer, appeared in 2022. The supercomputer, housed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, can theoretically achieve 2 exaflops and has a peak performance of 1.6 exaflops.

What is the speed of exascale computing?

The processing power of exascale computers is more significant than one exaflop, which translates to one billion calculations per second. 


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