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April 10, 2015

Intel & Cray to build ‘Aurora’ – world’s most powerful supercomputer

‘Aurora’ to have a peak performance of 180 petaFLOPS.

By CBR Staff Writer

Intel has received a $200m contract from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to develop the largest supercomputer in the world, with a peak performance of 180 petaFLOPS.

The supercomputer, named Aurora, will be housed at Argonne National Laboratory and will be available for the scientific community from across the country to conduct research in various fields.

Intel is designing and building Aurora in partnership with Cray, with the former supplying its high performance computing (HPC) scalable system framework and the latter its next-generation Shasta supercomputer.

DoE Under Secretary for Science and Energy Lynn Orr said: "Argonne National Laboratory’s announcement of the Aurora supercomputer will advance low-carbon energy technologies and our fundamental understanding of the universe, while maintaining United States’ global leadership in high performance computing.

"This machine – part of the Department of Energy’s Coral initiative – will put the United States one step closer to exascale computing."

The contract is the third and final investment being made by the DoE as part of the $525m Collaboration of Oak Ridge, Argonne, and Lawrence Livermore (Coral) initiative established in early 2014.

Coral intends to develop supercomputers that are five to seven times more powerful than today’s top supercomputers and use them in accelerating next-generation exascale computing in the US.

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The contracts for the first two supercomputers were announced in November. To be installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the two systems leverage IBM’s Power Architecture, NVIDIA’s Volta GPU and Mellanox’s Interconnected technologies.

ORNL’s new system, Summit, is expected to provide at least five times the performance of its existing leadership system, while LLNL’s new supercomputer, Sierra, is expected to be at least seven times more powerful than its current machine, Sequoia, the DoE previously claimed.

Intel and Cray will also supply another supercomputer, Theta, to ALCF. Having a peak performance of more than 8 petaflops, Theta will be a Cray XC series supercomputer.

Aurora will be commissioned in 2018, while Theta will be delivered in 2016.

Intel Corporation Technical Computing Group general manager Raj Hazra said: "The future of high performance computing will require significant innovations on multiple fronts and Argonne’s Aurora and Theta supercomputers represent successive generations of the transformation required in future HPC system architectures.

"Working together with Cray, these systems provide a highly flexible and adaptable industry design based on Intel’s HPC scalable system framework that will deliver breakthrough performance, power efficiency and application compatibility through an integrated and balanced system architecture – paving the way for new scientific discoveries and far-reaching benefits on a global scale."

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