tianhe-2As it stands, the world’s fastest supercomputer is China’s Tianhe-2, a computer that runs at 33.86 petaflops. For those wondering how fast that is, basically it is capable of performing 33.86 quadrillion floating point operations per second. However it looks like President Obama does not want the US to play second-fiddle to anyone.

So much so that he has issued an executive order (via Motherboard) in which he says that the US must build their own exascale supercomputer, with the goal of being 30 times faster than China’s Tianhe-2. Dubbed the National Strategic Computing Initiative, ultimately this will be a computer that is capable of mimicking the human brain, which apparently isn’t possible with today’s technology.

The initiative will see collaborations between the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation. Other agencies involved in the early input include NASA, the FBI, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Homeland Security, and NOAA.

According to the order, “Computational problems and data centric problems are coming together in areas that range from energy, to climate modeling, to healthcare. This shift dictates the need for a balanced ecosystem for high performance computing with an undergirding infrastructure that supports both computationally-intensive and data centric computing.”

Unfortunately there was no timeline provided as to when this project must be completed, although the executive order did state that NSCI must at least be setup within 90 days of today, and annual reports are expected to be submitted with regards to its progress.

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