Supercomputer Showdown


Do you have a hard-to-answer question? The Summit, Sierra, Trinity, Frontier, and Aurora supercomputers are built to tackle it. Summit tops the petaflop heap – at least for now. But Frontier and Aurora are catching up as they take aim at a new performance benchmark called exascale.   

So why do we need all this processing power? From climate modeling to personalized medicine, find out why the super-est computers are necessary to answer our biggest questions. But is the dark horse candidate, quantum computing, destined to leave classical computing in the dust?


  • Katherine Riley - Director of Science, Argonne National Laboratory
  • Jack Wells - Director of Science, Oak Ridge National Laboratory National Center for Computational Sciences
  • Katie Bethea - Communications Team Lead, Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Jeffrey Hawkins - Technologist and neuroscientist.  Co-founder of Palm, Handspring and Numenta
  • Eleanor Rieffel - Mathematician, NASA Ames Research Center, and co-author of “Quantum Supremacy Using a Programmable Superconducting Processor,” published in Nature magazine


Part 1: What is a supercomputer?
Part 2: What is FLOPS?
Part 3: Supercomputers and AI
Part 4: Quantum Supremacy

Originally aired November 4, 2019