4 ways supercomputing will change the world



  • Supercomputers are foundational to making transformative breakthroughs to advance areas in drug discovery, climate research and sustainability
  • With exascale computing, a new era of supercomputing, scientists will significantly augment efforts with improved capabilities in 3D modeling, simulation and AI 

As supercomputing reaches new performance milestones, it will uncover solutions for the world’s toughest problems

For over a decade, supercomputing has stared upwards at its holy grail, the next major leap in speed: exascale. “Exascale” refers to a supercomputer with at least one exaflop of computing power.

But what does that mean?

In simple terms, this means solving a computational problem at one-billion billion (18 zeroes) calculations per second. Last year, HPE and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) announced that Frontier became the world’s first supercomputer to break the exascale speed barrier, making it the most powerful computer in the world.

But achieving exascale isn’t an arbitrary industry milestone. This achievement will help solve calculations that are 8x as complex, at 10x the speed. It will accelerate scientific discoveries, enable new breakthroughs, and speed up the development of solutions to address some of the world’s toughest challenges.

Here are four ways that the world’s most powerful computer will drive humankind forward:

1.     Drug development: Significantly reduce the time needed to discover drug treatments and cures for disease

By applying AI and machine learning to physics-based models we can fundamentally change how new drugs are designed and tested. Using the power of an exascale supercomputer, we may be able to go from an idea to a clinical trial in a year.

During the pandemic, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory worked with an HPE supercomputer to create an AI-driven modeling platform to narrow down the number of potential antibody candidates from 1040 to just 20.

Exascale computing can power these AI models at scale, which presents the opportunity to extend breakthroughs to cancer, heart disease, and the development of new antibiotics.

.     Extreme weather predictionSave lives by predicting hurricane paths more quickly

Weather and climate predictions are a combination of chemistry, geology, and physics – and all of these calculations happen on a sphere that’s spinning at about 1,000 miles per hour.

Thankfully, this is exactly the type of problem supercomputers were built to solve, helping forecasters today 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 computing speed, future models will be able to determine the strength and future path of a hurricane with even greater accuracy at a faster rate, saving lives and limiting economic losses as the world confronts the effects of climate change.

.     Fighting food scarcity:  Help feed the world’s population by increasing crop yields

With exascale computing, we’ll see the onset of a new agricultural revolution that uses genomics and bioinformatics, along with new genome-editing techniques to create new varietals of crops. Powered by supercomputers and advanced genetics techniques, work is already underway to map the genome for wheat so that we can create a heartier and more diverse variety that offers higher yields and can better adapt to environmental challenges.

.     Enhance sustainability:  Reduce the environmental footprint of things we use every day

We can use exascale technology to invent next-generation batteries that are safer, cheaper, and run longer. We can use it to design better nuclear fuels for clean energy or develop new polymers that degrade naturally when exposed to light so we don't put more plastic into the ocean.  Exascale technology will significantly enhance the products we use each day – and reduce their impact on the environment.



To hear more about this ground-breaking technology from HPE, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and General Electric, come and join us at our panel at SXSW.

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