As of the TOP 500 supercomputers list, NUDT Tianhe-2 remains the fastest supercomputer with maximum speed of 33.86 petaflops (1 petaflop = 1015 operations per second). The pace at which the operations are carried out in supercomputers is totally extravagant. But did you ever think about what such gigantic machines are used for? How much they cost? And other fancy stuff like that? Here in this article we explore various aspects related to supercomputers that most probably you didn’t know of.
What exactly are supercomputers?
Supercomputers, as their name suggests are the most advanced versions of normal computers. These are typically powerful and are much more advanced (compared to normal computers) in almost every area.
The world’s best supercomputer Tianhe-2 of China is built up with 3.12 million processor cores which are constantly involved in parallel computing. These help the supercomputer process 33,860 trillion operations every second.
This powerful machine values up to a $390 million dollars and consumes almost 24 megawatts of energy, when operates at peak speeds of 50 petaflops.
But what are all those performance parameters for? Are there really such complicated tasks which so definitely need the expertise of supercomputers? Find out in our next section.
Why would anyone need a supercomputer?
With time supercomputers have also evolved. The earlier supercomputers like the Colossus could read 5000 characters each second. While the modern supercomputers like Tianhe-2 could accomplish much complicated stuff like even simulating what happens inside the sun.
Their other applications also include stock market computations, research in the biological stream, defense and military operations, molecular behavior simulations and other complicated simulations helping researchers, governments and people. No to forget, the various online games which interconnect several users at the same time also make use of supercomputers.
How long do supercomputers last?
Even the supercomputers face the threat of component degradation due to heat. Large scale cooling systems are a must but still chances are depending on the tasks they perform, the hardware could give up.
It’s nothing like a home computer to repair it and get back on track but the repair process could eat up months and cost some really valuable bucks. So a life span of 3 years is expected out from any newly assembled supercomputer.