Technology 3 min read

Meet the World's First Exascale Computer

Once completed, this exascale computer will be, by far, the most powerful computer on the planet. ¦ Timofeev Vladimir / Shutterstock

Once completed, this exascale computer will be, by far, the most powerful computer on the planet. ¦ Timofeev Vladimir / Shutterstock

Intel, in conjunction with the U.S Department of Energy, is planning on creating the world's first exascale computer. Once built, it will be the world's fasted supercomputer.

IBM’s AC922 Summit, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, is the reigning champion as the world’s fastest supercomputer.

With a peak speed of 200 petaFLOPs, Summit can perform 200 million billion calculations per second.

Already, at these mind-boggling speeds, supercomputers unlock new boundaries for science in cosmology, medicine, and chemistry to name just a few.

Where do we go from there? There’s no theoretical limit to supercomputing power and the Summit won’t keep its title for long as it’s threatened by at least one contender.

The U.S. government enlisted the help of leading tech companies to design a new supercomputer architecture that will hit the exascale range.

Aurora Supercomputer to Enter the U.S. Into the Exascale Era.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) has awarded Intel Corporation and Cray a $500 million contract to build the world’s first exascale computer.

Intel makes semiconductors and data center chips, and it’s subcontractor Cray Inc specializes in supercomputers. Together they’ll design a new supercomputing system that would be able to hit speeds in the exaFLOP range.

One exaFLOP is one quintillion, or a billion billions calculations per second. For comparison, IBM’s Summit is in the quadrillion range with 0.2 exaFLOPs speed.

To be delivered by 2021, this exascale computer, called Aurora, is described on paper as the fastest and most advanced supercomputer in the world.

Read More: Make a Simulated Universe with Only a Supercomputer and 2 Trillion Digital Particles

For $100 million, Cray will contribute it’s Shasta technology to the project that the company claims will:

 “Underpin the next era of supercomputing, characterized by exascale performance capability, new data-centric workloads, and  heterogeneous computing.”

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said about the exascale computer project during the announcement:

“Achieving exascale is imperative, not only to better the scientific community, but also to better the lives of everyday Americans. Aurora and the next generation of exascale supercomputers will apply HPC and AI technologies to areas such as cancer research, climate modeling and veterans’ health treatments. The innovative advancements that will be made with exascale will have an incredibly significant impact on our society.”

The DoE’s Argonne National Laboratory, a project Aurora contractor, said its Aurora supercomputing system’s:

“Traditional high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) will give researchers an unprecedented set of tools to address scientific problems at exascale.”

Simulating an apple falling off from a tree is something pretty much any computer can do. However, when complete, Aurora will be able to simulate the Universe around that apple falling.

Read More: Scientists Create Viable Origin of Life Theory Using Supercomputers

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

Comments (3)
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  1. Profile Image
    Isaac Hesson March 23 at 12:56 pm GMT

    These new technologies are spectacular! 😲
    These new technologies are simply spectacular
    These new technologies are simply spectacular
    These new technologies are simply spectacular
    These new technologies are spectacular. 😲

  2. Profile Image
    Derrick Vanwyk March 23 at 11:52 pm GMT

    This will create an extreme wave of acceleration across many areas of science and technology!

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