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Supercomputing's Exascale Arms Race

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Jaguar supercomputer

The Jaguar's performance will be upgraded from 2 to 20 petaflops, and the supercomputer will become known as Titan.

Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The United States wants to achieve exaflop speeds for supercomputing, but China, the European Union, India, Japan, and Russia also have set their sights on exascale computing. "There's a growing realization around the world that high-end computing is at the root of economic competitiveness," says Nvidia's Steve Scott. He also notes that "it's really critical for industrial competitiveness, military superiority is not the most important thing anymore."

The performance of the Jaguar supercomputer at the U.S.'s Oak Ridge National Laboratory will be increased from 2 petaflops to 20 petaflops, and Nvidia will supply 18,000 of its graphics processing units as part of the upgrade, which is expected to be completed by about 2019. Such super-processing power would allow for the creation of more accurate simulations, and could lead to improvements in the design of everything from engines and new materials to drugs.

Exascale computing also could model scientific pursuits such as climate change, cell growth, and nuclear fusion.

From The Financial Times
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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