Obama Plans to Develop Supercomputer That’s 30 Times Faster Than All Others
Yesterday, President Obama signed an executive order launching a government-wide program to develop a supercomputer that’s even more powerful than the current record-holder, China’s Tianhe-2.
The effort, known as National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI), will be a muti-agency push to boost the computing power in the US by creating the world’s fastest computer by 2025. The initiative will focus on creating an exascale computing system that delivers “approximately 100 times the performance of current 10 petaFLOP systems.”
This would mark at least a 30-fold increase in computing power from today’s fastest machines.
For comparison, the current leader of the supercomputer pack, the Tianhe-2, has a speed of 33.86 petaflops; where one petaflop is equal to 10^15 calculations per second.
The White House released a statement about the plan:
Over the next decade the goal is to build supercomputers capable of one exaflop (1018 operations per second). It is also important to note that HPC in this context is not just about the speed of the computing device itself. As the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has concluded, high-performance computing “must now assume a broader meaning, encompassing not only flops, but also the ability, for example, to efficiently manipulate vast and rapidly increasing quantities of both numerical and non-numerical data.”
A number of agencies, including the Defense Department, Energy Department and National Science Foundation as leads, will be working in collaboration with the NSCI on the project.
In addition, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are tasked with studying future computing standards, including alternatives to semiconductors.
As for what would this powerful beast actually be used for, the White House didn’t reveal much except saying it could make future aircraft design much more straightforward and speed the advancement of personalized medicine with its Precision medicine initiative.