The U.S. Will Get the World's First Exascale Computer in 2021

The most powerful computer, dozens of times faster than any other computer in the world, will be built just outside Chicago.

image
Argonne National Laboratory

For the past several years, the world's power have been locked in a supercomputing arms race, one-upping one another with biggest and faster achievements. , the world’s fastest supercomputer is coming to the United States in 2021 and will be the first to break the so-called "exascale" barrier.

Supercomputers measure their performance in flops, or calculations per second. A computer that has ten flops can make ten calculations in a second, which is pretty abysmal for a modern computer. Your laptop or desktop is likely capable of several teraflops, or trillions of calculations per second.

The top-performing supercomputer in the world right now is the Summit computer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. That computer reaches 150 petaflops, several thousand times as much processing power as a typical laptop. reach a few dozen petaflops as well. But the big target in supercomputer construction right now is building the first exascale computer, capable of a quintillion calculations per second. Such a computer would be a million times faster than a typical desktop and could dramatically advance scientific and artificial intelligence research.

According to , that first exascale computer is finally coming. Thanks to $500 million from the DoE, a 1 exaflop computer named Aurora will be built at Argonne National Laboratory. The computer will be built using architecture and technology from Intel.

“Aurora and the next-generation of exascale supercomputers will apply [high performance computing] and AI technologies to areas such as cancer research, climate modeling, and veterans’ health treatments,” said Secretary of Energy Rick Perry . “The innovative advancements that will be made with exascale will have an incredibly significant impact on our society.”

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below