US govt to spend $485m to build fastest supercomputers

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US govt to spend $485m to build fastest supercomputers

Will outperform China's Tianhe-2.

The US Department of Energy said it will spend US$425 million (A$485 million) to research extreme-scale computing and build two supercomputers to be the world's fastest, for research into basic science as well as nuclear weapons.

The DOE is awarding US$325 million to build "Summit" for Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, and "Sierra" at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

An additional US$100 million will go to research into "extreme-scale supercomputing" as part of a program called FastForward2, the DOE said in a statement.

The supercomputers, made with components from IBM, Nvidia and Mellanox, will run five to seven times faster than the United States' current fastest computers.

Summit and Sierra will operate at 150 petaflops and 100 petaflops, respectively, compared to the world's current top supercomputer, the Tianhe-2 in China, which performs at 55 petaflops, Nvidia said in a statement.

IBM built the first supercomputer to reach 1 petaflop in 2008, also for the Department of Energy.

Researchers worldwide will be able to apply for time to use the Summit computer. The National Nuclear Security Administration will use Sierra "to ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent without testing," Nvidia said.

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