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Exascale Computing: The Modern Day Space Race

Exascale ComputingThe on-going Exascale computing race between the US, Europe, and Asia is very much like the Space Race of the 60’s. As Americans, we know the US is familiar with competing for the title of “leading tech innovator,” especially if another country is already ahead of us.

In the years following the Space Race, the world exploded into a technological evolution unlike anything seen before. Hopefully, we’re now looking at a positive instance of history repeating itself.

Evolution to Modern Super-Computing

In the present day, we are all reliant on technology. Smart phones with digital assistants and laptops produced nearly paper-thin is the new norm – and that is just consumer-grade technology. The world of computing in the corporate and scientific world is dramatically beyond the computing power of our personal devices. That’s exactly why these massive powerhouses are commonly known as “super-computers.” These too are about to take a huge leap forward with Exascale computing.

What is Exascale Computing?

Before 2012, an Exascale computing platform was unfathomable. To provide insight into why that is, allow me to break down what an Exascale computer’s predecessors are.

Still utilized today, “petaFLOP computers” use super-computer platforms first created by IBM in 2008. A one-petaFLOP computer is able to process information at a rate of one-quadrillion operations per second. Computers with this kind of speed can create artificial testing environments for complex scientific experiments that would not be possible in the real world. Fields such as quantum physics rely on this type of computing to provide vital information for ongoing research.

An Exascale computer system, on the other hand, reaches one-thousand petaFLOPs or more. This type of computing power is able to open doors for research in a way that couldn’t be imagined less than a decade ago. This is extremely exciting, of course.

Exascale Computing Timeline

Though Exascale computers are not yet a reality, the three main tech-producing areas of the world have provided their projections for completion. These timelines are much sooner than most would guess. China and Japan have planned for a 2020 completion. The EU and the US are not far behind. Both are ramping up resources to provide a 2021 to 2022 completion respectively.

With these years quickly approaching, it will be a short time before we begin to unfold new fields of research and understanding that do not exist today. Think flying cars, hyper-real holographic imaging, and life-like artificial intelligence. With computing power becoming this powerful now and into the future, anything could be possible.

(Image Source: iCLIPART)