What's with the 18 zeros? HPE's Dr. Goh on the power of exascale computing
The race to exascale-class computing is well underway as we approach National Exascale Day on Oct. 18, celebrating the 18 zeros of computing power that exascale represents—equal to a billion-billion calculations per second.
What exactly do those 18 zeros mean? We'll soon be able to harness the speed of the world's top 500 supercomputers in one exascale system, producing results 10 times faster. Not only will this next level of high-performance computing speed up the discovery of solutions to problems we face today, but it will reveal questions we haven't yet thought to ask.
The U.S. Department of Energy is planning to deliver the first exascale system as early as next year, using HPE Cray supercomputers. And many other countries are working on exascale as well, given the potential benefits for businesses, governments, and society at large, including once unimaginable breakthroughs in healthcare, weather prediction, and space exploration.
Already, supercomputing is playing a key role in the search for a vaccine to battle COVID-19, explains Dr. Eng Lim Goh, senior vice president and CTO for AI at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, noting that researchers are bringing HPC systems together to filter drugs for pre-clinical trials and to predict the efficacy of treatments.
Extreme weather prediction is another area where supercomputers are making a big difference, Goh says. Using supercomputers, for example, forecasters can do a far better job of predicting where a hurricane will hit land―from within 200 miles 50 years ago to just 50 miles today. With exascale speed, he adds, future models will produce even greater accuracy and do so faster, saving lives and limiting economic losses as the world confronts the effects of climate change.
And further, in space exploration, exascale computing will help scientists find new planets and learn more about how the universe was born.
Watch this Atlantic Festival fireside chat with Goh and Atlantic publisher Hayley Romer for more on the advances exascale computing will bring to the world, stretching the limits of human imagination as we explore new frontiers.
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