Understanding Exascale

A 64-by-64-pixel Vertically Integrated Photon Imaging Chip (VIPIC) prototype tested at Argonne this summer flaunted three essential properties: timing resolution within one microsecond; continuous new-data acquisition with simultaneous old-data read-out; and selective transmission of only pixels containing data. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Life at Exascale

The fastest supercomputers in the world today solve problems at the petascale—that is a quadrillion (1015) calculations each second.

While these petascale systems are quite powerful, the next milestone in computing achievement is the exascale—a higher level of performance in computing that will have profound impacts on everyday life.

At a quintillion (1018) calculations each second, exascale supercomputers will more realistically simulate the processes involved in precision medicine, regional climate, additive manufacturing, the conversion of plants to biofuels, the relationship between energy and water use, the unseen physics in materials discovery and design, the fundamental forces of the universe, and much more.

“Computational power is a vitally important tool that enables scientific discovery and assists us in finding solutions to some of our most difficult problems.  The quest to achieve capable exascale computing is a quintessential technological challenge that will serve to enable a new generation of insights into such discoveries and solutions.” — Stephen Lee, ECP Deputy Director


Exascale: the Engine of Discovery

Exascale computing will have a profound impact on everyday life in the coming decades. At 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 calculations per second, exascale supercomputers will be able to quickly analyze massive volumes of data and more realistically simulate the complex processes and relationships behind many of the fundamental forces of the universe.

This will have practical applications in everything from precision medicine to regional climate, water use to materials science, nuclear physics to national security. Exascale computing has the potential to drive discoveries across the spectrum of scientific fields—and to improve both our understanding of the world and how we live in it.

Learn more about the promise of Exascale and the collaborative efforts of government, academia and industry to lead the way into this new era of computing.

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