Home Science IBM's Summit Supercomputer to Push Research in Offshore Wind Energy Generation

IBM’s Summit Supercomputer to Push Research in Offshore Wind Energy Generation

General Electric will leverage IBM's supercomputer to accelerate research in wind power for improving the landscape of renewable energy.

American multinational conglomerate, General Electric Company (GE) aims to leverage one of the fastest supercomputers in the world to advance the production of offshore wind power in the United States. GE will utilize IBM-built supercomputer, Summit or OLCF-4 in the process.

Experts believe that Summit can fuel research that could ultimately have an impact on future wind turbines in terms of design, control, and operations. The supercomputer will also be used to advance research with the intent of achieving advancement in wind power development off the East Coast of the United States. This will be done by giving experts a better understanding of the wind sources that are accessible in the Atlantic.

Jing Li, General Electronic research aerodynamics lead engineer, stated:

We’re now able to study wind patterns that span hundreds of meters in height across tens of kilometers of territory down to the resolution of airflow over individual turbine blades. You simply couldn’t gather and run experiments on this volume and complexity of data without a supercomputer. These simulations allow us to characterize and understand poorly understood phenomena like coastal low-level jets in ways previously not possible.

Offshore Wind Research

As compared to land-based wind resources, offshore-wind resources are stronger and much more abundant. The U.S. Department of Energy also stated that:

Data on the technical resource potential suggest more than 2,000 gigawatts (GW) could be accessed in state and federal waters along the coasts of the United States and the Great Lakes.

GE predicts that the supercomputer is what will fill the lacuna in offshore wind power generation studies.

GE’s Future Research Projects With Summit

Over the next year, GE will conduct research in partnership with the U.S Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project (ECP). ECP is chartered with the accelerated supply of a competent exascale computing system to provide innovative solutions for addressing major challenges in scientific discovery, energy assurance, economic competitiveness, and national security. GE states that this project would be impossible without Summit because in typical situations, there would be a compromise between resolution and scale.

Using Summit, exascale computing would enable them to model the entire wind farm to study flow physics with sufficiently high resolution to test each turbine blade while spinning.

The team will also research on low-level coastal jets. These jets are not considered in traditional wind-turbine designs. Li stated that low-level jets are considered “atypical” because wind speeds can increase quickly to a certain height before sudden drops. Researchers want to study these low-level jets to optimize the performance of a turbine – especially along the US East Coast.

IBM Summit – World’s Most Powerful Supercomputer

IBM-built Summit with its 4,608 IBM Power Systems AC922 server nodes, each with two IBM POWER9 CPUs and six NVIDIA Tensorcore V100 GPUs, gave scientists its extensive data processing capacities to render maximum performance at 200 petaflops (200 * 1015 floating-point operations per second) – designed to be more powerful than one million high-end laptops.

Summit secured its title in 2018 by pushing groundbreaking research in space, the opioid crisis and to show humans how they will be able to accomplish Mission Mars.

Summit is ranked as the world’s second-fastest supercomputer after Japan’s Fugaku supercomputer.


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Muskan Bagrecha
Muskan is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor's in Technology. With a zealous spirit for writing, she finds herself open to the vast realm of learning. She is an avid programmer with a keen interest in technology and science.

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