The Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) has had its life extended for an additional year.

Originally scheduled for shutdown at the start of 2024, the world’s fifth fastest system on the Top500 list will be supported by a new program called SummitPLUS which will allow the supercomputer to keep running until the end of 2024.

Summit supercomputer
The Summit supercomputer at ORNL – Oak Ridge National Laboratory

In an interview with HPCwire, Bronson Messer, director of science at OLCF told the outlet that even though Summit had been scheduled for decommission, when the time came, employees at the lab believed the system could still do more.

“We’re constantly running a computer in production and looking ahead to the next computer; we have a finite amount of space as everybody does. So it was very much our plan to shut the computer down,” Messer said. “But it’s been such a productive scientific instrument that we negotiated with IBM and Nvidia and got a sixth year of support for the machine.”

Over 100 research projects are expected to be run on Summit during its additional year of life, with the system also acting as a resource provider for the National AI Research Resource (NAIRR), a two-year pilot plan to democratize access to AI technology and research.

NAIRR was launched by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) in collaboration with ten federal agency partners including the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Health.

The Summit supercomputer is a 13MW system that features 9,216 IBM Power 9 processors and 27,648 Nvidia Volta GPUs across 4,608 servers, connected via Nvidia’s NVLink interconnect. Its nodes are connected via Mellanox dual-rail EDR InfiniBand network, delivering 200Gbps to each server.

At the end of February, quantum engineering company Riverlane and quantum computing firm Rigetti announced they were partnering with Oak Ridge National Laboratory for a project exploring the integration of quantum computers with large-scale supercomputing centers.

The three stakeholders will build the industry’s first benchmarking suite, dubbed QStone, to measure the performance of joint high-performance computing (HPC) and quantum systems and better understand how quantum error correction technologies interact with an HPC system when integrated with quantum hardware.

QStone will run on Summit and according to Messer is the smallest project on the allocation list, requiring 20,000 node hours. The largest projects will reportedly run at more than ten times this size, requiring 300,000 node hours.

ORNL in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is home to the world's current most powerful supercomputer, Frontier.

In addition to Summit, the lab also houses a 10 petaflops supercomputer used by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration.