What Does it Mean to Summit?


Many consider the Summit as the highest point of attainment or aspiration. It’s that exhilarating feeling of knowing you have reached the pinnacle. Mount Everest is the highest summit on earth. It is a place at once both awe-inspiring and unforgiving. It is where people go to live out their most challenging aspirations and dreams. The mountain remains the pinnacle of human feat and a pursuit representative of the greatest passion and drive.

Summit – The Next Peak in HPC

The Summit supercomputer, one of the two CORAL systems, will deliver the next leap in leadership-class computing systems for open science. With Summit, the supercomputing community will be able to address, with greater complexity and higher fidelity, questions concerning who we are, our place on earth, and in our universe.

The Summit supercomputer will deliver more than five times the computational performance of its predecessor Titan.  Summit will have a hybrid architecture, and each compute node will contain dual IBM POWER9 CPUs and multiple NVIDIA Volta GPUs. Each node will have over half a terabyte of coherent memory (high bandwidth memory + DDR4) addressable by all CPUs and GPUs plus 800GB of non-volatile RAM that can be used as a burst buffer or as extended memory. To provide a high rate of data throughput, the nodes will be connected in a non-blocking fat-tree topology using a dual-rail Mellanox EDR InfiniBand interconnect for both storage and inter-process communications traffic which delivers both 200Gb/s bandwidth between nodes and in-network computing acceleration for communications frameworks such as MPI and SHMEM/PGAS.


The Astonishing Engineering of Summit

  • Summit is the result of a collaboration amongst Oak Ridge National Labs, IBM, Mellanox, NVIDIA and Red Hat.
  • Each of the nodes in Summit can deliver more than 40 teraflops of performance. The overall cluster’s peak performance will be 5x-10x faster than its predecessor, Titan.
  • The hybrid Summit supercomputer design will interconnect thousands of compute nodes, each containing both IBM POWER CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs. They will depend on Mellanox’s dual network EDR 100Gb/s InfiniBand-based solution to communicate with each other, providing one of the most advanced architectures of its kind for high-performance computing applications.
  • Summit is connected by more than 136 miles of cabling if each of the approximately 5000 cables were connected end-to-end.
  • Summit will utilize 15 megawatts of power of the 20 megawatts of electricity allocated to it. This would be enough power for 12,000 Southern homes with their air conditioners cranking!
  • Summit will be housed in a space about the size of 2 basketball courts in a special facility located at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility of ORNL.
  • Summit will be the fastest HPC system on the planet, but its hybrid architecture also positions it as the largest research platform for deep learning and artificial intelligence to date.
  • Upon completion, Summit will allow researchers in all fields of science unprecedented access to solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

Summit Time Lapse Phase 1 from OLCF on Vimeo.

About John Biebelhausen

John Biebelhausen is Director, OEM Marketing at Mellanox Technologies, Inc. Before joining Mellanox, John had an extensive career as a Marketing Executive in a range of technology companies including IBM, Lenovo, Dell and Sharp Labs. John was a founder in multiple start-up companies pioneering Direct Relationship Marketing and SaaS applications. John holds a MS of Science in Finance from Colorado State University and a BBA in Economics and Finance from Kent State University.

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