First Exascale Computer by 2021
Content Source: the US Department of Energy (DOE)
Intel Corporation and DOE will build the first supercomputer with a performance of one exaFLOP in the United States. The system being developed at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, named “Aurora,” will be used to dramatically advance scientific research and discovery. The contract is valued at over $500 million and will be delivered to Argonne by Intel and subcontractor Cray Computing in 2021.
The Aurora systems’ 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 range from 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 system will foster new scientific innovation and usher in new technological capabilities, furthering the United States’ scientific leadership position globally.
“Achieving exascale is imperative not only to better the scientific community but also to better the lives of everyday Americans,” said US Secretary of Energy 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.”
“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,” said Bob Swan, Intel CEO. “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.”
“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.” —US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry
“There is tremendous scientific benefit to our nation that comes from collaborations like this one with the Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory, and industry partners Intel and Cray,” said Argonne National Laboratory Director Paul Kearns. “Argonne’s Aurora system is built for next-generation Artificial Intelligence and will accelerate scientific discovery by combining high-performance computing and artificial intelligence to address real world problems, such as improving extreme weather forecasting, accelerating medical treatments, mapping the human brain, developing new materials, and further understanding the universe—and that is just the beginning.”
The foundation of the Aurora supercomputer will be new Intel technologies designed specifically for the convergence of AI and HPC at extreme computing scale. These include a future generation of Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor, a future generation of Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory, Intel’s Xe compute architecture, and Intel’s One API software. Aurora will use Cray’s next-generation Shasta family, which includes Cray’s high-performance, scalable switch fabric codenamed “Slingshot.”
“Intel and Cray have a longstanding, successful partnership in building advanced supercomputers, and we are excited to partner with Intel to reach exascale with the Aurora system,” said Pete Ungaro, president and CEO, Cray. “Cray brings industry leading expertise in scalable designs with the new Shasta system and Slingshot interconnect. Combined with Intel’s technology innovations across compute, memory, and storage, we are able to deliver to Argonne an unprecedented system for simulation, analytics, and AI.”
For more information about the work being done at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, visit Argonne’s website.