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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

­.s., Eu, Russia Set Aside $13.6m For Exascale Software Work

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The United States, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, and the United Kingdom have agreed to fund projects aimed at developing software for the next generation of supercomputers. The G8 Research Councils of the participating nations recently began offering $13.6 million for projects that support exascale software development. The G8 specifically listed climate change, energy, water, and the environment as study focus points for the next generation of supercomputers.

Computers that contain 250,000 compute cores today are expected to have as many as 100 million cores by 2020. "We're interested at looking at what is needed in terms of standards, in terms of a real software stack for exascale, and we have to start planning now," says the University of Tennessee professor Jack Dongarra. He says developing software for next-generation supercomputers will be extremely challenging.

Dongarra and Argonne Leadership Computing's Pete Beckman recently formed the International Exascale Software Project, aimed at developing and coordinating research for exascale systems. The G8 predicts that supercomputers will process 10 petaflops in 2013, 100 petaflops in 2016, and one exaflop in 2019.

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