Why we need supercomputers — and electricity

Increase in computing power comes with a need for an increase in electrical power

By Thom Mason | May 21, 2024

Mason Oped
On April 15, Thom Mason (center) discussed the important role of AI-enabled supercomputing in a panel discussion with NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang (second from left), Hewlett-Packard Enterprises CEO Antonio Neri (second from right) and Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk (far right) in a panel discussion. Jason Pruett (far left), director of Los Alamos' National Security AI Office, moderated.

By Laboratory Director Thom Mason

On Monday April 15, Los Alamos National Laboratory cut the ribbon on our newest supercomputer, Venado, named after a peak in the mountains above Taos.

This won’t be the world’s fastest supercomputer — that title belongs to Oak Ridge National Lab — but it will be one of the first two supercomputers worldwide to integrate powerful superchips that use AI technology to accelerate computing speeds. These superchips can execute millions more instructions per second, usually at lower cost and power consumption, than preceding chip technology.

The result will be an ability to solve complex computing problems in minutes that previously took months. This is good news for science, as well as national and global security.

At Los Alamos, we use our supercomputers for everything from climate science to disease modeling (such as COVID-19) to DNA research, as well as other data-intensive projects. These require immense amounts of computing power and, consequently, can take a long time to execute. But Venado will use AI to completely transform those models.

Read the rest of the story as it appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican.