What is supercomputer and its uses with examples

A supercomputer is a most powerful, fastest, and most expensive computer. This computer is capable of billions of calculations per second. This computer has the ability to perform many complex and delicate tasks. A supercomputer is the biggest computer in terms of size and power.

What is supercomputer
The computer that we usually use helps you with a simple task. A supercomputer can work faster and with more accurate data than a normal computer. Supercomputers are slightly larger in size than normal computers. These computers are generally used in large organizations. Supercomputers are named as such because they perform tasks faster than normal computers and work in the right way.

What is a supercomputer?

A supercomputer is a computer that is much more powerful and larger in size than small computers. Supercomputers are known for being very expensive and very fast. This supercomputer is the world's most powerful computer. Supercomputers have a huge performance advantage over general-purpose computers. The primary purpose of supercomputer design was to increase computing power in large-scale organizations. 

On average, each supercomputer costs about $100 million to build and $9 million to maintain each year. One of the world's largest supercomputers, named "Titan," is about the size of a basketball court. They are not as readily available as conventional computers, and very few organizations in the world have supercomputers. Most of them are government-based and are used in large-scale accounting at various research institutions. They also require a lot of maintenance.

Some examples of supercomputers:

  1. Summit (U.S.)
  2. Sierra (U.S.)
  3. Fugaku (Japan)
  4. Sunway Oceanlite (China)
  5. Sunway TaihuLight (China)
  6. Selene (U.S.)
  7. Tianhe-2A (China)
  8. Fujitsu K computer (Japan)
  9. HPC5 (Italy)
  10. JUWELS Booster Module (Germany)

Powers of supercomputers:

Supercomputers are vastly more powerful than ordinary computers. We usually measure the speed of a computer by determining how many hertz its processor is and how many megabytes or gigabytes of data it can process per second. But a completely different metric is used to measure the speed and power of supercomputers. The unit is FLOPS (Floating Point Operation Per Second). It is completely different from the conventional calculation method and is only used to measure the speed of large processing machines. Supercomputers consist of thousands of processors that can perform billions and trillions of calculations per second.

Characteristics of supercomputers:

  • They can support hundreds of users simultaneously.
  • These computers have a large number of processing units.
  • A supercomputer is the most powerful and costly computer.
  • Use of custom software and effective thermal management.
  • High-speed interconnection between nodes and a high-speed input and output system.
  • It is capable of handling massive amounts of calculations that are beyond the capabilities of humans. 
  • Supercomputer maintenance requires many people, and supercomputers are cared for very closely.
  • In a supercomputer, many CPUs work together, and it works on the basis of parallel processing, due to which the speed of the supercomputer is much faster than expected.
  • The working power of supercomputers is very fast, and it has the ability to complete the work of thousands of people in seconds. Supercomputers allow you to perform complex tasks such as complex mathematical calculations, scientific equations, and 3D graphics easily and quickly.
  • They were primarily used in applications related to national security, nuclear weapons design, and cryptography. But nowadays, they are also employed by the aerospace, automotive, and petroleum industries, etc.

Uses of supercomputers:

Supercomputers are used in laboratory research, quantum mechanics in physics, weather forecasting, climate research, atomic physics, etc. NASA and large research institutes such as CERN also use supercomputers for very precise calculations in astrophysics and molecular physics. The military uses supercomputers to test new planes, tanks, and weapons. They use them to understand the effects of soldiers and war. These machines are also used to encrypt data.

It has expanded the field of study of the structure of subatomic particles and the origin and nature of the universe. Supercomputers have become a crucial tool for weather prediction. The fields of meteorology and scientific research rely on supercomputers to analyze data from other fields, such as those exploring the solar system, satellites orbiting Earth, and nuclear research.
  • Supercomputers were initially used in nuclear weapons design and national security projects. But nowadays it is widely used in the aerospace, petroleum, and automotive industries. Besides, supercomputers have found wide applications in fields involving engineering or scientific research.
  • Used for scientific simulations and research such as weather forecasting, meteorology, nuclear energy research, physics, and chemistry, as well as highly complex animated graphics.
  • Supercomputers are used for military, aircraft, tank, and weapons testing.
  • Scientists in their own laboratories use supercomputers to predict the levels of smog and other pollution in specific areas.
  • The fields of meteorology and scientific research rely on supercomputers to analyze data from other fields such as those exploring the solar system, satellites orbiting Earth, and nuclear research.
  • Supercomputers are used to diagnose various diseases and provide better results for stroke, brain injury, and other blood flow problems.

Which operating system is used on supercomputers?

Early supercomputers used their own operating systems, but gradually they started using Linux-based operating systems. since Linux is open-source software and anyone can modify it as they wish. According to the latest information, the world's best 500 supercomputers use Linux-based operating systems.

Serial and Parallel Processing:

What is the distinction between serial and parallel processing?

Serial processing

A normal computer can perform only one task at a time, i.e., to complete a task, it completes one process at a time and provides the output of the task, and this is called serial processing. In fact, your computer can complete hundreds of millions of commands per second, making it seem like real-time to you, even when doing one task serially. 

Let's try to make the matter clear with a nice example. Imagine a shopkeeper. Suppose you go to his shop and ask him to give you a 1-kg packet of sugar. Now, what will he do? He will first get up from his seat, then go to the sugar packet rack, bring the sugar packet, hand it to you, and count your cash and put it in the drawer. Now see, it doesn't matter how fast he got up from his seat or how fast he got the dough from the rack and handed it to you. The point is that he is doing only one thing at a time. No matter how fast he is serving you, he is only doing one job at a time and serving you by doing one job at a time. This is how normal computers complete their work.

Parallel processing

Modern supercomputers, on the other hand, operate in a completely different way. It divides a job into different parts and processes them simultaneously, and this system of doing work is called parallel processing. 

As per the above example, now imagine that you go to a store to buy 1 kg of salt, 1 liter of oil, and 1 kg of biscuits. Now suppose there are three people together in that shop to help the shopkeeper. Then everyone can choose a different job to deliver the things you want. Someone will bring salt, someone will bring oil, and someone will deliver biscuits, and at this same time, you can complete the money transaction with the shopkeeper. Again, notice that each brings different things at the same time, but they all come to you together. Thus, no matter how many things you want to buy in the shop, if there are many people working there, it is possible to complete all the work very quickly at the same time. And this is parallel processing. In theory, our brains also work in parallel. At the same time, you are reading this article, your brain is doing full-on activity inside your body.

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