Trillions in One Second

Belarus continues to perfect SKIF Supercomputer
We are capable of creating the most powerful computers in the world; Belarus has made the top four nations in terms of technological achievements. The status and image of the country are not really as important as the fact that we are ready to equip Belarusian and Russian companies with top-of-the-line computers that we make ourselves allowing for the demands and requirements of national producers,” said the State Secretary of the Union State of Belarus and Russia Pavel Borodin during the news conference that marked the completion of the Union State program Supercomputer SKIF.

We already wrote about the joint efforts of the Belarusian and Russian scientists to create super-powerful computers. The SKIF K-500 model with a peak performance of over 700 billion operations per second and the SKIF K-1000 unit with a performance of 2.5 trillion operations per second, created in late 2004, are among the best computers in the world. The latter model was included in the top-100 computers of the world and became the best computer in the CIS and Eastern Europe.

— Trillions of operations in one small second seemed taken from science fiction books a couple of years ago. It is routine now, and specialists often say it is too slow, says Yelena Churakova with the T-Platform company. — Scientific-and-technological advance sets us new tasks and sends us new challenges, so the sixteen SKIF K-500 and SKIF K-1000 computers we made over five years (ten in Russia and six in Belarus) were used very efficiently. We need to respond to new challenges now.

— The main objective now is to launch new technologies that would provide any user with access to supercomputers, explains the Director of the Associate Institute of IT with the National Academy of Sciences Vladimir Anischenko. — We want our facilities to operate in all segments of the national economy and solve various problems. This task requires an increase in productivity. We now plan to create a computer capable of performing quadrillions of operations per second. We will make it in four to five years, I guess.

Here is a reminder for those who forgot their maths: a quadrillion is one thousand trillions. So in five years modern supercomputers will be too slow. What happens in ten years? Let’s not make any forecasts, as a second is a capacious unit.

Developers and researchers will be doing their best to fit the second phase of the SKIF-GRID program within six months.

Irina Trofilova
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