The fastest computer in the world today can deliver about 125 petaflops of performance, but that could quadruple in the coming years.
Cray’s XC50, announced Monday, can deliver a petaflop of performance in a single box, and up to 500 petaflops for an entire supercomputer. A supercomputer is typically multiple servers — also called nodes — strung together, combining to provide multiple petaflops of horsepower. So the XC50 needs to be specifically configured to hit 500-petaflop performance, an effort that could take a few years.
There are multiple technologies that boost the performance of the XC50. It is compatible with Nvidia’s Tesla P100 GPU and Intel’s Xeon and Xeon Phi processors, which are both accelerators that speed up scientific computing tasks.