From faster drug discovery to safer cars, planes and consumer products: Imagining the benefits of exascale

OCTOBER 16, 2020 • BLOG POST • PETER UNGARO, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER, HPC AND MISSION CRITICAL SOLUTIONS (MCS), AT HEWLETT PACKARD ENTERPRISE

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • Exascale computing will become a reality as early as 2021 with the first U.S. exascale systems for the U.S. Department of Energy powered by HPE Cray EX supercomputers
  • Exascale speed performance of 1018 calculations per second will advance modeling, simulation and AI to make breakthrough discoveries

Exascale will deliver 5-10X faster performance to solve the world’s toughest problems and unlock a new era of innovation

Exascale, the next giant leap in supercomputing, will soon become a reality.

It will allow us to perform 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 calculations per second (1018). That’s a quintillion. To visualize the magnitude of a quintillion: it would take 40,000 years for quintillion gallons of water to flow over Niagara Falls.

But, exascale will be more than just larger and faster computers. It will represent a new age of insights and a new era of innovation. Breaking through a speed barrier of 1018 calculations per second will help solve the world’s toughest problems and answer questions we never knew to ask.

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Imagining the benefits of exascale

Having the ability to model and simulate at an exascale level will allow us to take an even higher volume of complex data and turn it into digital models that can help us understand how something will look like and perform in the real world.

Exascale will also fuel new AI capabilities, which have become integral in research and business, to improve predictability. Researchers that apply AI to modeling and simulation using exascale computing can increase accuracy in results faster, helping us make informed decisions, improve business processes and create better products and experiences.

Exascale will allow us to make breakthroughs in global challenges such as accelerating drug discovery to cure a pandemic by speeding time-to-insights from years to just months or even less. It will help us predict extreme weather conditions, such as hurricanes and wildfires, to help local governments and first responders prepare citizens for safer evacuation and disaster relief.

Exascale will also empower innovation to create better and safer products and experiences. Global brands like Goodyear, Boeing, and Procter & Gamble are current members of the Exascale Computing Project’s Industry Council where they benefit from today’s supercomputing resources to advance R&D and improve their products. With exascale, they will further advance their mission. Some examples include:

Predicting Better Tire Performance for Tomorrow’s Cars

Tire performance and safety play big roles in handling a vehicle, from steering and corning to accelerating and braking. Modeling and simulating components that go into tires can provide valuable insight to create better, safer tires.

Goodyear, a leading tire manufacturer, plans to significantly advance its ongoing R&D with exascale to improve tire designs. By analyzing key areas such as rubber types, carbon block, wiring, and mold and tread geometry, Goodyear will further increase performance and offer maximum safety with its tires.

“We know more change is coming. This is precisely why exascale is important to Goodyear. Mobility is changing and technology is becoming integral to the way we drive. Movement will be more complex than ever, requiring more computer-intensive power and capability.” – Chris Helsel, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Modeling Entire Airplanes for Safer, Efficient Flights

Modeling and simulation on an exascale level means going from simulating the wing of an airplane to the entire aircraft more accurately and efficiently. Boeing already uses supercomputing technologies to advance its efforts, which includes successfully building the first aircraft for the U.S. Air Force that was entirely designed, modeled and tested using computational power. With exascale, Boeing plans to further this mission to advance modelling for additional planes used in commercial, defense and space flights.

“Exascale, as the next-generation HPC, will expand the part of the flight envelope we can simulate using Computational Fluid Dynamics, or CFD, technologies…This in turn will allow us to accelerate our design processes and create more competitive commercial, defense and space products.” - Joerg Gablonsky, Technical Fellow and Chair of the Enterprise HPC Council, Boeing

Discovering New Materials to Improve Personal Care and Household Products

Consumer product manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to increase effectiveness and sustainability in products that span from hair shampoo to laundry detergent. The computational power from exascale will enable researchers to perform complex simulations to design and discover new materials. When these materials are combined with other ingredients, manufacturers can deliver safe and functional benefits in the products that we use every day.

Procter & Gamble (P&G), which manufacturers a range of consumer products, depends on science to improve products and make them even more sustainable. P&G uses supercomputing today to simulate reactions between chemical, physical and biological components to uncover new and better solutions to leverage in its products.

“You might ask: why would a consumer products company be interested in exascale computing? The simple answer is science. Our innovative products are based on scientific understanding of chemistry, physics, biology, and even many fields engineering. Simulation is a critical ‘how’ to do some aspects of science related to how our products work…Exascale offers us the possibility to simulate entire formulations in use or critical manufacturing operations, down to the molecular scale where important reactions or multi-phase reactions are occurring.” – Mark Meili, R&D Vice President, Modeling, Simulation, & Digital Innovation, and STC M&S Leader, Procter & Gamble Company

READ: Here comes exascale, and it's about to change everything

This is why we celebrate Exascale Day

Supercomputers today already deliver massive computing performance, and at HPE, we have seen incredible breakthroughs made by world-leading research centers and labs using our comprehensive portfolio of HPE Cray supercomputing and AI solutions. With exascale, we will take this to a new level and push through today’s computational limits to enable much more than we ever could have imagined.

It is inspiring to imagine all these possibilities with exascale. At HPE, we are honored to help make exascale computing a reality as soon as 2021. We will deliver the upcoming three exascale systems for the U.S. Department of Energy that will be powered by HPE Cray Ex supercomputers: Aurora at Argonne National Laboratory, Frontier at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and El Capitan at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

More importantly, we would not have come this far if it wasn’t for the visionaries behind exascale that have paved the way for us. The ones that have rethought, reimagined, and revolutionized supercomputing architectures to pioneer a new generation of opportunity.

This is why this upcoming 10.18, we will celebrate the second annual Exascale Day to recognize the engineers, scientists and researchers who continue to ask “what if, why not, what’s next.

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