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November 17, 2014

Summit and Sierra supercomputers to be world’s fastest

DOE investing $425m in 150petaflops and 100petaflop supercomputers.

By CBR Staff Writer

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is investing $425m for research into extreme-scale computing. The DOE plan to build two super-computers, claimed to be the world’s fastest, to advance innovation and discovery in science, engineering and national security.

Expected to be built by IBM under a $325m contract, the new supercomputers will be based on the company’s new Power servers and integrate NVIDIA GPU accelerators and networking technology from Mellanox.

The new supercomputers are set to be deployed at Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories by 2017-2018. The supercomputers will be named Summit and Sierra.

The remaining $100m is intended for further development in extreme scale supercomputing technologies under the ‘FastForward 2’ research and development programme.

US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said: "High-performance computing is an essential component of the science and technology portfolio required to maintain U.S. competitiveness and ensure our economic and national security.

"DOE and its National Labs have always been at the forefront of HPC and we expect that critical supercomputing investments like CORAL and FastForward 2 will again lead to transformational advancements in basic science, national defence, environmental and energy research that rely on simulations of complex physical systems and analysis of massive amounts of data."

Both the supercomputers are claimed to run five to seven times faster when compared to the existing ‘fastest’ computers in the US.

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Operating at 150petaflops and 100petaflops, respectively, both will surpass performance of the world’s current top super-computer, the Tianhe-2 in China, running at 55petaflops.

IBM Systems and Technology Group senior vice president Tom Rosamilia said: "Today’s announcement marks a shift from traditional supercomputing approaches that are no longer viable as data grows at enormous rates.

"IBM’s Data Centric approach is a new paradigm in computing, marking the future of open computing platforms and capable of addressing the growing rates of data.

"The beauty of the systems being developed for Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge is that the core technologies are available today to organisations of many sizes across many industries."

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