U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on Friday announced two awards worth 425 million U.S. dollars in total to build two supercomputers that will be at least three times faster than China's Tianhe-2, today's most powerful system in the world, as well as research extreme scale supercomputing technologies.
Moniz said in a statement that the government will invest 325 million dollars to build "Summit" at the Department of Energy's ( DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and "Sierra" at its Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California.
Another 100 million dollars will further develop extreme scale supercomputing technologies as part of a research and development program titled FastForward 2, he said.
"High-performance computing (HPC) is an essential component of the science and technology portfolio required to maintain U.S. competitiveness and ensure our economic and national security," Moniz said.
"DOE and its National Labs have always been at the forefront of HPC and we expect that critical supercomputing investments ... will again lead to transformational advancements in basic science, national defense, environmental and energy research that rely on simulations of complex physical systems and analysis of massive amounts of data."
According to the DOE, Summit and Sierra will be five to seven times more powerful than Oak Ridge's Titan, today's fastest supercomputer in the United States that operates at 17.59 petaflop/ s, or quadrillions of calculations per second.
The supercomputers, to be installed in 2017, will also be at least three times than the current world's fastest, Tianhe-2 at China's National Super Computer Center, in Guangzhou, which delivers 33.86 petaflop/s.
Both systems will be based on next-generation IBM POWER servers with NVIDIA's GPU accelerators and Mellanox's Interconnected technologies "to advance key research initiatives for national nuclear deterrence, technology advancement and scientific discovery," the DOE said.
The department said a third laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, will announce its supercomputer award at a later time.
It said the second announcement, FastForward 2, "seeks to develop critical technologies needed to deliver next-generation capabilities that will enable affordable and energy-efficient advanced extreme scale computing research and development for the next decade."
The joint project between DOE Office of Science and National Nuclear Security Administration will be led by computing industry leaders AMD, Cray, IBM, Intel and NVIDIA, it added.