The Cost Of Cooling

Today’s supercomputers are more powerful—and hotter—than ever. Continued progress towards exascale computing requires innovative cooling techniques.

AsianScientist (Jan. 30, 2020) – As anyone who has ever spent too long on a phone call knows, computers—even pocket-sized ones—generate heat. While a phone has anywhere between four to eight processors, Summit, the most powerful supercomputer in the world, has 2.4 million, including 27,648 extra-hot NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs. Clearly, USB-powered fans just aren’t going to cut it.

In fact, cooling typically takes up half the energy costs of running a supercomputer, and heat transport can account for as much as 96 percent of the machine’s volume. If the next generation of exascale computers are going to meet their power usage effectiveness goals, radical new cooling methods will need to be implemented.

This article was first published in the print version of Supercomputing Asia, January 2020.
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Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Illustration: Shelly Liew/Supercomputing Asia.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Asian Scientist Magazine is an award-winning science and technology magazine that highlights R&D news stories from Asia to a global audience. The magazine is published by Singapore-headquartered Wildtype Media Group.

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