The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) unveiled their new flagship computer, Titan, on Monday. The Department also announced its latest round of Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) award recipients.
Titan, according to Oak Ridge’s announcement, is 10 times more powerful than its predecessor, Jaguar, with a theoretical peak performance of 20 petaflops, or 20,000 trillion calculations per second. The current fastest computer, according to the Top 500 list, is Sequoia, which clocked in at 16.32 petaflops in June.
The first phase of Titan’s installation was completed earlier this year, and final updates were completed this fall. Titan consumes slightly more energy than Jaguar, but when its significantly faster processing speed is taken into account, it is five times more energy efficient, according to the national laboratory’s team. The combination of faster speed and only slightly more energy consumption is critical, since the roughly seven megawatts Jaguar consumed — enough to power roughly 7,000 homes — cost millions. Titan is estimated to consume roughly nine megawatts.
“This power problem is changing everything,” said Steve Scott, chief technology officer of NVIDIA’s Tesla business unit. “The fact that the energy isn’t dropping as fast as the transistor budget is increasing is just making us more and more power-constrained. And that’s really what’s driving us to reinvent how we make processors.”