This supercomputer will have the mission to create the largest 3D map in the universe!

Equipped with artificial intelligence, the Perlmutter supercomputer should help study dark energy and accelerate the expansion of the universe. His goal ? Help create the largest 3D map of the visible universe.

A very important mission

The Perlmutter is one of the most powerful supercomputers equipped with AI. This was recently the subject of a presentation by the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), a high-performance computing center used by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on behalf of the Department of Health’s Office of Science. States. In addition, the Perlmutter is the result of a collaboration between the companies Hewlett-Packard, AMD and Nvidia.

The goal of the supercomputer will be to 3D mapping of the visible universe. For those in charge of the project, this will make it possible to study dark energy (or dark energy). Remember that this form of energy offers the possibility to explain the expansion of the universe. The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) will collect the data that the Perlmutter supercomputer will process. It is linked to the Mayall Telescope near Tucson, Arizona (United States). However, his mission is to measure the light emitted through tens of millions of galaxies at insane distances (12 billion light-years).

perlmutter supercomputer
Credit: NERSC

Incredible Performance

The Perlmutter contains 1,535 nodes. Each of these nodes contains four Nvidia A100 GPUs and an AMD Epyc 7763 processor (64 cores). In total, the supercomputer delivers a power of four exaflops or 4,000 petaflops. That’s much more than the most powerful non-AI supercomputer. Indeed, the Fugaku from the Riken Center for Computational Science in Kobe (Japan) achieved the score of “only” 415.5 petaflops in the Linpack performance test. By the way, remember that supercomputers that use AI don’t include the ranking of the best machines, this is reserved for those without AI.

According to the project managers, the Perlmutter should be able to: processing DESI data for one year in just a few days. With current systems, these types of operations would take several weeks or even months. However, you will still have to be patient. Indeed, the supercomputer is still in the development phase.

It will be improved over the course of this year. More another 3,000 nodes – this time consisting of two AMD Epyc 7763 chips each – will be added to the machines already present. Finally, in addition to studying dark energy and the acceleration of the expansion of the universe, the Perlmutter must also: working on clean energy.