A supercomputer is a superior version of a general-purpose computer, which has a significantly increased capacity and processing power.
The first supercomputers were introduced in the 1960s by Control Data Corporation. Seymour Cray is credited with developing the first supercomputer, capable of outputting more computations than traditional general-purpose computers. At the time, supercomputers were not as widely utilized as they are at present.
Supercomputers generally differ from traditional household computers by their processing power and the number of operations they can carry out in a second. In other words, supercomputers have better GPUs and CPUs. The power of a supercomputer is calculated in FLOPS, which stands for floating-point operations per second. Currently, the most powerful supercomputers are capable of performing at a speed of one hundred quadrillion FLOPS.
Nowadays, supercomputers have an important role in the technological advancements we are experiencing. One of the more noticeable uses of supercomputers that people might not even know about is weather prediction. Meteorologists rely on supercomputers to process huge amounts of data from all over the world to provide as accurate a prognosis as possible. Because of the numerous data points meteorology utilizes, supercomputers prove extremely valuable in predicting weather conditions on a global scale.
Governments all over the world are looking to invest in the development of supercomputers. There is a worldwide competition going on between countries to be the next one to create the best supercomputer so far. In 2017, China, the United States, and the European Union were competing against each other to create the first-ever computer capable of processing one quintillion FLOPS.
Supercomputers also play an important role in the development of blockchain-based projects. One notable example is IBM’s supercomputer which helps process information for the computer giant’s blockchain-based projects.
Because of the remarkable computational power supercomputers possess, such machines often become targets for hackers. Infamously, one of the main reasons hackers try to take control over supercomputers is to mine cryptocurrency. The enormous processing power, along with increased productivity, make supercomputers the perfect mining machine.
Even with the serious competition for the next best development, supercomputers still have a long way to go. According to experts, a supercomputer capable of processing one sextillion FLOPS will be required for the complete weather modeling of the world for two weeks. Currently, such technology does not exist. While supercomputers still have a long way to go, they prove to be an essential part of our digital development already.