Reaching the Summit: The World’s Smartest Supercomputer

IBM and the U.S. government unveiled the world’s smartest and most powerful AI supercomputer, capable of performing 200 quadrillion calculations per second, making it the fastest in the world. IBM scientists from the U.S., Germany, Switzerland, France, Ireland, Brazil, Israel and Canada worked together over four years to build a system that is optimized from the ground-up for AI.
But what do 200 quadrillion calculations per second really mean? Think of it this way: If every person on earth completed one calculation per second, it would take 305 days to do what Summit can do in 1 second. The Summit supercomputer is about 200,000 times more powerful than the average laptop. Here is something about Summit:

Summit is designed for AI

Four years ago, when the U.S. Department of Energy brought in IBM to build a supercomputer for use at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, it wasn’t just about building a computer that was fast.
The IBM team had to ensure that the system could quickly sift through all types of data, from multiple sources, to help find answers to the world’s most complex problems—from cancer to the opioid crisis to energy efficiency.
Artificial intelligence (AI) workloads are some of the most complex and challenging computational problems for computers today, and when tasked to do so, they are typically power-hungry, inefficient and unable to make sense of all the different kinds of information.
What the team came up with was new server and processor technology—called POWER9—that was built specifically for compute-intensive AI workloads and is faster and more powerful than existing systems that weren’t designed to handle the new types of data that now flow from a vast range of systems and sensors, in different formats.

This technology is not just for government

With deep learning and AI moving well beyond science fiction into the cutting edge of internet and enterprise computing, the impact of Summit is apparent in a variety of industries:

  • The National Cancer Institute will use Summit to find previously hidden relationships between disease factors.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs will use it to combine clinical and genomic data with machine learning to understand the genetic factors contributing to opioid addiction.
  • And the DOE will use Summit to develop new materials that can transmit electricity without energy loss.

Businesses can have their own “mini Summit” today

There was a time when it would have taken years for technology built for government labs to be brought into market. But IBM has taken the same technology it used for Summit and put it into its newest commercial offerings—the AC922 and POWER9 systems. This means businesses can buy IBM’s new AI-optimized architecture and apply it to solve their toughest business challenges. In other words, this isn’t just about research. This is about giving organizations the technology they need to work smarter in new ways—from banks identifying fraud in real time to global businesses preventing supply chain breakdowns before they happen. And since IBM Power Systems are based on open-source technology, customers have more choices when it comes to which hardware and software to use, as well as more flexibility on the components used inside systems.

Four of the top six banks in North America are already using these systems for things like real-time fraud identification.


What’s inside the box

The Summit supercomputer consists of about 4600 “nodes”, which are basically rack-mounted servers. Although Summit will be 5-10 times more powerful than its predecessor, it will have only a quarter of the nodes and use substantially less power. It’s what’s inside these nodes that makes them so special. Each node consists of a specialized HPC server designed by IBM. The node contains two IBM Power9 processors and six Nvidia Tesla V100 SXM2 GPU accelerators. And to keep these systems cool, there’s a swimming pool’s worth of water flowing overhead.


24th Year of Patent Leadership

IBM broke the U.S. patent record with 8,088 patents granted to its inventors in 2016, marking the 24th consecutive year of innovation leadership. IBM passed the milestone as the first organization to deliver more than 8,000 U.S. patents in a year. When you do the math, that’s more than 22 patents granted to IBM inventors per day in 2016. IBM’s 2016 patents output covers a diverse range of inventions in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, cognitive health, cloud, cybersecurity , IoT and other strategic growth areas for the company.

INNOVATION has been a focus at IBM since day one, and it is at the core of IBM’s values. IBM’s patent leadership is key in demonstrating it’s strategic commitment to the fundamental R&D necessary to drive progress in business and society, and an important barometer of innovation. Inventions are a great source of value to IBM, to clients, to business partners and society as a whole.

The Top Ten list of 2016 U.S. patent recipients* includes:

  1. IBM – 8,088
  2. Samsung Electronics – 5,518
  3. Canon – 3,665
  4. Qualcomm – 2,897
  5. Google – 2,835
  6. Intel – 2,784
  7. LG Electronics – 2,428
  8. Microsoft – 2,398
  9. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. – 2,288
  10. Sony – 2,181

*Data provided by IFI CLAIMS Patent Services

In the area of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence, IBM inventors patented more than 1,100 inventions that help machines learn, reason, and efficiently process diverse data types while interacting with people in natural and familiar ways. Here is sample of some of the Patents filed in 2016:

  • Machine learning to secure the best answers: Providing accurate answers to questions that are posed by users. (US Patent #9,384,450)
  • Planning the best route for a traveler’s cognitive state: IBM inventors have developed a method for planning a trip route based on the state of travelers that affects driving risk the most: their state-of-mind. Had a long day or easily overwhelmed? This system will help you navigate a less stressful route home. (US Patent #9,384,661)
  • Using images to better gauge heart health: IBM researchers have developed a method for categorizing human heart disease states by using cardiac images to characterize the shape and motion of the heart.  (US Patent #9,311,703)
  • Using drones to clean microbes in hospitals and agricultural fields: In this patent, surveying, testing and measuring contamination is controlled by a cognitive facility that manages drones. The drones could enter a contaminated area, collect specimens then confirm and map and sterilize contamination.  (US Patent #9,447,448)
  • Measurement and Integrated Reporting of Public Cloud Usage in a Hybrid Cloud Environment:  This innovation enables enterprises to monitor and measure employee and application usage and reduce information technology costs. (US Patent #9,336,061)
  • Pre-emptively detecting and isolating cloud application network intrusions:  When network breaches are detected, networking between applications – or their subcomponents – can be locked down to minimize the impact of an attack. (US Patent #9,361,455)
  • Managing incoming communications to prevent phishing and the spread of malicious content: IBMers invented a system to create levels of permission and trust for inbound communications such as e-mails and text messages. This system determines a level of trustworthiness to assign to an inbound communication, and how much of that communication to forward on to a user. (US Patent #9,460,269)


Seven Habits of Highly Successful Blogger – 2

In the previous blog, we covered two habits of a successful blogger.  In this blog, I will explore some more of the habits. Even though I am not claiming to be a successful blogger, still I am comfortable in writing about them, because I have heard from some of the successful bloggers.

name3. Its all in the name
The title will be the first (and possibly only) thing the reader sees.  You have to entice them to click on the link to read more.  You have to grab their attention and give them a reason that they should be interested. I realized this a little late in my blogging stint. For example “An Exploration of Computer Security Measures” would not sound as attractive as “What Hackers Know That You Don’t”.

4. Slow and Steady wins the race

Some of my peers started blogging with good determination. In few weeks they saw that the only person who was reading their blogs was they themselves! So they gave up blogging to pursue something more meaningful. But Rome was not built in a day. We can start looking at the search phrases using which some of the viewers are landing on the blog and consider those topics for subsequent blogs. So with enthusiasm and determination, we require some patience on the journey of life as well as of blogging. Regular writing will keep audience looking forward to new content and also inspire them to follow the blog.  Still if no one follows, we should not crib. Other benefits in the Habit 1 are sufficient reasons for persevering.

5. A picture speaks a thousand wordspicture

I have tried to put a picture to almost each of my blog. Good content needs good design to survive and stand out among all the other choices out there. Use show, not tell, examples when possible. Put together images to represent visual examples. To guard against copyright click here or here.

6. There is no substitute for good content

Jazzy title, and fancy art work will attract the reader to the blog. But what will make them stay here is the content. Great content will get shared and passed around. Bad content will not. Copy/paste articles tend to die on the vine. Write new content and link them back to the existing material. Edit older entries to keep them current and relevant. Fix typos in already published content. You can also link to your new posts from your older articles.

7. Do unto others as you would have them do unto yougoldenrule
This is a golden rule which can be applied in blogging also. So if we want others to read our blog, we should read their blogs and link to their good content. Connect with other bloggers and cross-promote each other and build our audiences together.

I will be happy if this blog helped someone. Please drop in your comments so that I can also improve and other readers will also benefit.

Here is another good post that came after I wrote my blog… 10 Two-Minute Tweaks to Instantly Revitalize Your Blog

Seven Habits of Highly Successful Blogger – 1

In my first blog of the year, I wrote: “I have seen many of my peers starting their journey on blogging but unable to sustain it. This year (2015) I wish to share some of  lessons learned from my last four years of Blogging experience with the idea that it will help readers to also become active to contribute on social media (and maybe to share some of their habits for me/ others to learn as part of  comments). I do not  consider myself an expert to write on this topic, but several of regular visitors showed great interest in reading such a blog.” So here are some of the habits that will help one to sustain their journey on Social Media.

1. Begin with the End in Mind

Many feel that I am writing a blog so that others can benefit. So the questions on which stumble them are,
Habit 1“Who is going to read this?”
“Why should I write if there is anyhow so much documentation already available?”
“There are many others with better  technical understanding than what I have, so better they should write”.
“My blog hits shows that no one is reading, so let me throw in the towel!”

But in my experience with writing, I have realized that it is the blog writer gains the most when they write. Here are a few to benefits to start with:

  • Extend your reach  – Expand your network of professional contacts while managing your own professional reputation.
  • To teach is the best way to learn – It is not a news that by sharing one becomes more thorough in the subject matter. By communicating, sharing and collaborating with your audience you are learning yourself. One of my US Patent came directly from a discussion on a problem that was raised in one of the blog comments.
  • Establish a unique identity – Differentiate yourself at IBM by increasing your visibility as a leading edge subject matter expert
  • Your company / product also benefits – The customer finds quick fixes, good documentation, competitive advantage, tutorials, to use your product and thus you’re going to be helping with the marketing (and ultimately sales) efforts.

2. Divide and Rule

Though the phrase sounds not so pleasing, but mapreduce (in Hadoop) also uses this philosophy. Jokes apart,  I heard this phrase in the beginning of my blogging stint and so I used it very actively in my blogs. Splitting a blog into series will have the following advantage:

  • As a blogger we will have more focused content to compose.
  • As a blogger we will not have to scratch our head to find a next topic to blog on 🙂
  • The attention of the audience can be maintained. A long article puts off the reader.
  • The audience will know that more in the topic is coming and will be looking frequently for updates.  (contributing to page hits)

Many places I have read that the blog should not be more than 500 words long.  So anything beyond that could be a good candidate for another blog. At this point I can see the word count approaching 500 so let me stop now. Stay tuned for more habits.

Click here for tips on writing and here for the part 2 of this blog.

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SitemapThank you for actively reading and commenting on my blogs. Here is a site map to navigate through the various posts on this Blog. Do drop a comment if you find this site helpful or you have any suggestions for my upcoming blog.


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Hello world!

I am a Software Engineer working with IBM Software Labs since 2003. I have worked in various Enterprise Integration products in IBM. Since 2005, I have been working in Product development of Infosphere Information Server (IIS), which is an ETL tool. I am currently in InfoSphere Quality Stage wing of IIS, which helps enterprise clean it’s data. Apart from developing new features, I help the Global Sales in creation of Proof of Concepts and solving customer issues.

I hold a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (Bangalore University) and a Masters degree in Computer Science (Loyola University Chicago).