Tennessee is the new king of super computing

Jun 13, 2018

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Tennessee likely won’t get to wear the crown for long, but for now the Volunteer State is king in the world of supercomputers.

The federal government is spending some $280 million to build and maintain a next generation supercomputer called Summit at East Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Labs.

Credit olcf.ornl.gov

Project Director Buddy Bland says Summit will help research everything from nuclear fusion to new cancer treatments.

“Working on the Unit Two startup at the Watts Bar nuclear plant, we also looked at renewable energy; biofuels. We work on basic sciences like understanding why stars explode.”

If you could put every man, woman and child on the planet to work solving equations, it would take them nearly a year to complete what Summit can accomplish in a single.

Bland says the nation’s political leadership has been willing to pony up for that kind of computing power because they see the need for America to remain competitive

“We see that the Democrats, the Republicans, the House, the Senate, the Executive Branch...all have been big supporters of high performance computing over the years.”

Prior to Summits installation at Oak Ridge, China, Switzerland, and Japan all had super computers faster than any operating in the U.S. China currently has the largest number of supercomputers.

Summit is the size of two tennis courts, contains 185 miles of fiber optic cable and is kept cool using 4,000 gallons of chilled water.