Intel Corp. and Cray Inc. will deliver the first supercomputer with a performance of one exaFLOP. It will be named Aurora and be housed at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago in 2021. The contract for the computer is valued at more than $500 million.
The Aurora system’s exaFLOP of performance, equal to a “quintillion” floating point computations per second, combined with an ability to handle both traditional high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) will give researchers an unprecedented set of tools to address scientific problems at exascale. These breakthrough research projects include developing extreme-scale cosmological simulations, discovering new approaches for drug response prediction, and discovering materials for the creation of more efficient organic solar cells. The Aurora will foster new scientific innovation and usher in new technological capabilities, furthering the U.S.’s scientific leadership position globally, according to Argonne
“Achieving exascale is imperative, not only to better the scientific community, but also to better the lives of everyday Americans,” says DoE Secretary Rick Perry. “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.”
Intel is also proud of the computer. “Today is an important day not only for the team of technologists and scientists who have come together to build our first exascale computer, but also for all of us who are committed to American innovation and manufacturing,” says Intel CEO Bob Swan. “The convergence of AI and high-performance computing is an enormous opportunity to address some of the world’s biggest challenges and an important catalyst for economic opportunity.”
The foundation of the Aurora supercomputer will be new Intel technologies designed specifically for the combining AI and high-performance computing at on the supercomputing level. If you’re trying to keep up and build one at home, you will need the next-generation of Xeon Scalable processor and Optane DC Persistent Memory, Xe compute architecture, and One API software, all from Intel. You’ll also need Cray’s next-generation supercomputer system, code-named “Shasta,” which will consist of more than 200 cabinets and the company’s Slingshot high-performance scalable interconnect and software stack customized for Intel architecture. So, clean out the garage or basement to make room and maybe beef up your electricity connections and air conditioning.