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Russia Sets Its Sights on Exascale

  HPC Wire (03/27/12) Michael Feldman

 The Russian government intends to invest $1.5 billion this decade to develop at least one exascale supercomputing system by 2020, according to T-Platforms’ Alexey Komkov.  The Russian exascale program bundles everything from education and research to middleware and applications to interconnects and high-performance microprocessors.  The latter is critical to Russia because technology strictures still prevent the nation from importing the latest central processing units from the West if they are intended for defense industry or nuclear lab systems.  Some of the money budgeted for exascale development will be invested in a new national microelectronics center.  Overall, the Russian exascale program is being diffused across several nonprofit and for-profit organizations, including the Russian Academy of Sciences, T-Platforms, and RosAtom.  Areas of exascale application are more narrowly concentrated in Russia than they are in Western nations, with their core focus on strategically vital sectors, notably the defense and energy industries.  In contrast, major U.S. government agencies have exascale projects underway, but no single entity is coordinating the different initiatives.  Indiana University’s Thomas Sterling says Russia’s 2020 timeframe for the deployment of an exaflops machine may be too optimistic.

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