Written by IEEE | November 20, 2015 | Updated: April 12, 2017
The healthcare industry continues to grow smarter as technology evolves. In addition to the strides made in virtual reality and 3D printing, supercomputing has made an impressive mark on the wellness spectrum.
Supercomputers are an elite fleet of machines that can process data at superior speeds — a feat that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. In addition to our Healthier Planet map that gives an interactive glimpse into where in the world Supercomputers are impacting healthcare, we created a short list of some top Supercomputer facts.
Super, But Not New
Supercomputers have been around for a long longer than you may think. The first Supercomputer was called the Cray-1, and was developed in the mid-1970s. Unlike the much faster machines we have today, with the fastest being able to process data at 33.86 petaflops, the Cray-1 was only able to process data at a speed of 160 megaflops.
Full Speed Ahead
The clue may be in the word here, but Supercomputers are super fast. According to IEEE Member David Yates, in just one second, some Supercomputers can process 20 quadrillion instructions. If you wanted to count the zeros, there’d be 16.
Safe and Sound
As cars continue the transition toward autonomy, Supercomputers will play a role, alongside different sensor-based technologies, to ensure safety on the road. Audi’s January A7 journey is a great example, as the system relied on a series of cameras and one main Supercomputer, which was able to adjust the drive in reaction to potential outcomes that it analyzed in real time.
Smart and Sustainable
The global economy has proven quite vulnerable over the years, and Supercomputers have been used for their predictive capabilities based on past data. If resource consumption doesn’t transition toward being more sustainable, Supercomputers predict that by 2030, we could experience another economic collapse.
From vaccinations to rapid processing of genome sequencing, Supercomputers have big – or dare we say, super – implications for modern medicine. Some Supercomputers — are becoming expert diagnosticians, too. They’re able to parse and process through stats and facts in a single heartbeat that would take a human hours.