Technological Marvels: Top 5 Fastest Computers Ever Built

The realm of supercomputers is a fascinating one. These high-speed machines are used to perform complex simulations, analyze vast amounts of data, and tackle problems not yet solvable by other computing technologies. They are the epitome of modern technology, marrying raw speed with powerful processing abilities. Here, we explore five of the fastest supercomputers that have ever been built, each a technological marvel in its own right.


Summit, developed by IBM for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), was once the fastest supercomputer in the world. Its peak speed was a staggering 200 petaflops, which is about 200 quadrillion calculations per second. Summit consists of a whopping 4,608 servers, each equipped with two 22-core IBM Power9 processors and six NVIDIA Tesla V100 graphics processing unit accelerators. The machine uses a unique architecture that integrates the hardware and software in a way that allows it to manage data, compute and establish a learning environment exceptionally efficiently.


Sierra, another IBM creation, is designed for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for the National Nuclear Security Administration. It's a sibling of the Summit and shares many of the same specifications. Sierra operates at a peak performance of 125 petaflops. It is used for predictive applications in stockpile stewardship, which ensures the safety, security, and effectiveness of nuclear weapons without the need for underground testing. Sierra's high-speed computing power allows it to run complex simulations and calculations in a fraction of the time it would take a regular computer.

Sunway TaihuLight

The Sunway TaihuLight, developed by China's National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology (NRCPC), once held the title of the fastest supercomputer in the world. This machine can perform around 93 quadrillion calculations per second (93 petaflops). The Sunway TaihuLight is powered by Sunway SW26010 processors, a domestically produced Chinese processor. Unlike many other supercomputers, it does not rely on Western technology. The machine is primarily used for weather forecasting, pharmaceutical research, and industrial design.


Fugaku, developed by RIKEN and Fujitsu, is currently the world's fastest supercomputer. Located in Japan, Fugaku achieved a high-performance result of 442 petaflops, making it 2.8 times faster than Summit, the second fastest supercomputer. Fugaku uses Fujitsu's 48-core A64FX SoC, making it the first supercomputer to top the list while using Arm-based processors. Its primary use will be to solve global issues including understanding and mitigating climate change, helping with drug discovery and medical research, and solving societal issues.


Tianhe-2 was developed by China's National University of Defense Technology and held the title of the world's fastest supercomputer for several years. It has a peak performance of 54.9 petaflops. The Tianhe-2, also known as the Milky Way 2, uses Intel Xeon E5 processors and custom-built many-integrated-core (MIC) coprocessors. It was primarily built for government security applications, including simulating hydrogen bomb blasts and decrypting codes.

The world of supercomputers is fascinating and the speed at which these machines operate is mind-boggling. The above-mentioned machines are not just computers, but symbols of human ingenuity and testament to the leaps that technology has taken over the years. These technological marvels will continue to push the boundaries of what we believe is possible, undoubtedly paving the way for future innovations. As we continue to advance, who knows what marvels the future may hold? One thing is certain, the race to build the fastest supercomputer is far from over.