Energy Aims to Retake Supercomputing Lead From China.

Government Computer News (02/11/11) Henry Kenyon

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Argonne National Laboratory has commissioned the development of a supercomputer that will be capable of executing 10 petaflops. IBM will build the machine, which will be based on a version of the latest Blue Gene supercomputer architecture. The supercomputer will be operational in 2012, and its performance will be vastly superior to today’s most powerful supercomputer, China’s Tianhe-1A system, which has a peak performance of 2.67 petaflops. The system also will be the most energy-efficient computer in the world due to a combination of new microchip designs and very efficient water cooling. The supercomputer, which will be housed at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, will be used to conduct a variety of modeling and simulation tests that current machines are unable to perform. By 2012, IBM also will be responsible for two other systems operating at 10 petaflops or higher–the 20 petaflop Sequoia for the DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the 10 petaflop Blue Waters system for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The new class of supercomputers is expected to pave the way for the emergence of exascale computers–machines that are 1,000 times faster than petascale systems–by the end of the decade.

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