The United States does hold the crown for having the world’s most powerful supercomputer but it’s now looking to the future. With several countries in a race to build exascale supercomputers, the United States will be building such a system as well. Intel will develop the system in partnership with sub-contractor Cray Computing.

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Exascale supercomputers are capable of a quintillion calculations per second. China is one of the countries that’s enthusiastically working on exascale computers. It announced in 2018 that such systems had already been prototyped in the country and that China’s National Supercomputing Center will be able to build the system in the second half of next year or the first half of 2021.

The United States certainly doesn’t want to get left behind. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced today that Intel will be working with sub-contractor Cray Computing to build the first exascale supercomputer system in the United States. It will be called Aurora. Intel aims to deliver it to the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory by 2021.

“Aurora and the next generation of exascale supercomputers will apply [high-performance computing] and AI technologies to areas such as cancer research, climate modeling and veterans’ health treatments,” said Sec. Perry.

The technical details about this $500 million project haven’t been shared as yet so it’s unclear how much power this supercomputer will consume. Aurora will use Intel’s upcoming Xeon Scalable processor, the company’s Optane DC memory, One API, and the X compute architecture.

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