US to invest 1,5 billion euro in 2 exascale supercomputers

9 Apr 2018 Washinghton - The U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced a Request for Proposals (RFP), potentially worth up to $1,8 billion (about 1,5 billion euro), for the development of at least two new exascale supercomputers to be deployed at U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories in the 2021-2023 timeframe. The amount adds to the amount already allocated and invested, such as the current "Exascale project" and the planned Aurora A21 supercomputer. Funding is not yet secured.

The new supercomputers funded through this RFP will be follow-on systems to the first U.S. exascale system authorized by Secretary Perry this past June, named Aurora, which is currently under development at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and scheduled to come online in 2021. The RFP also envisions the possibility of upgrades or even a follow-on system to Aurora in 2022-2023, depending on an assessment of needs and opportunities at that time.

This RFP calls for a supercomputer system to be deployed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and for another to be sited at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California.

"These new systems represent the next generation in supercomputing and will be critical tools both for our nation's scientists and for U.S. industry", Secretary Perry said. "They will help ensure America's continued leadership in the vital area of high performance computing, which is an essential element of our national security, prosperity, and competitiveness as a nation."

The new systems will provide 50 to 100 times greater performance (more than 1 exaflop/s) than the current fastest U.S. supercomputer. They will enable breakthroughs in both science and industry through modelling and simulation, high-performance data analysis, and artificial intelligence and machine learning applications. Potential examples include:

  • Identifying next-generation materials
  • Deciphering high-energy physics data
  • Combating cancer
  • Accelerating industrial product design and reducing cost-to-market
  • Evaluating options for nuclear security

The RFP, the product of a collaboration among the three laboratories known as CORAL - the Collaboration of Oak Ridge, Argonne and Livermore - provides an opportunity for U.S. industry to develop at least two new unique system designs, each with a possible cost range of $400-$600 million, with a possibility of a third system with a similar or wholly different design from each of the previous two. Future amounts are subject to congressional appropriations.

The RFP is being managed for CORAL by UT-Battelle LLC, which operates Oak Ridge National Laboratory on behalf of the Department of Energy.

Funding for the RFP is being provided jointly by the DOE Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The Office of Science and NNSA are also partners in the Department's Exascale Computing Project, which is responsible for research and development efforts to accelerate application development, software technology, and hardware and integration for exascale systems.

Proposals are due May 24, 2018.

Funding is not presently available. The Laboratories anticipate funding from DOE, SC and NNSA to become available in a manner that will allow the selected Offerers to perform continuously until completion.

The anticipated budget range for each system is $400M to $600M.

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