Intel and Cray building America’s first exascale supercomputer ‘Aurora’

In an interesting development, details of the next generation supercomputer were revealed at a ceremony attended by Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and Senator Dick Durbin at Argonne National Laboratory on Monday.  According to the press release, Intel and Cray are building one of the biggest supercomputers, ‘Aurora’ with a half-billion-dollar contract from the Department of Energy.

The press release further adds that the program that has been dubbed as ‘Aurora’ is planning to put together an ‘exascale’ system at the Argonne National Laboratory by 2021.  “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,” said Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry.

Aurora which is designed to use the latest developments in the fields of machine learning and AI may not be the first to breach the speed barrier. China, however, has its own plans and it will reveal its first ‘exascale’ supercomputer in 2020 ahead of Aurora’s launch but everyone believes that the launch of Aurora in 2021, which has 50 times the computational and analytic power of Summit will reclaim the title once it goes live.

“We don’t know what everybody else is doing, so we can only really talk about the plans in the United States,” Rick Stevens, associate laboratory director for computing at Argonne, told reporters ahead of the announcement.

Aurora was announced as a standard supercomputer in 2015 and it got scaled up to ‘exascale’ in 2017. It might be interesting to take into account the level of computing power that we talking about here. Supercomputers like Aurora can perform quintillion calculations per second and that highlights the scale of the accomplishment.

“When you talk about billion calculations per second, for us mere mortals it kind of dawns on you where we are, what we’re doing, what we are on the cusp of being able to accomplish,” Perry noted.

Speaking about the partnership with Intel, Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray said, “Cray is proud to be partnering with Intel and Argonne to accelerate the pace of discovery and innovation across a broad range of disciplines.”

Source: Argonne Press Release 

Image: Shutterstock

Intel and Cray building America’s first exascale supercomputer ‘Aurora’
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