A new vocab word for you: Petaflop. A Petaflop is one quadrillion calculations per second.
Oak Ridge National Lab’s Titan supercomputer is capable of performing 17.59 petaflops per second. As incredible as that sounds, it’s hard to wrap your brain around exactly what these supercomputer’s are calculating at these outrageous speeds.
“Titan is part of a trend in supercomputing to mix graphical processor units with general purpose chips in order to max-out system performance,” says Wired Magazine. I’m still lost, so I went searching elsewhere for another answer.
I found a helpful article at ExtremeTech.com titled, What Can You Do With a Supercomputer? Check it out:
“For the most part, supercomputing is used to model simulations or perform brute force calculations. Supercomputers are research tools. Historically this was weather forecasting and aerodynamics, then nuclear weapons simulations and radiation shielding modeling, and in recent years the emphasis has been on cracking decryption and molecular dynamics modeling.”
Oak Ridge says it will use Titan to crunch numbers for computer simulations studying energy, climate change and materials. Read more in Oak Ridge National’s official press release here.