Obama Signs Exec. Order To Build World’s Most Powerful Supercomputer

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President Barack Obama signed an executive order establishing a National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI), which will be responsible for developing the most powerful supercomputer worldwide.

The Titan supercomputer with a performance of 27 petaflops (theoretical speed) or 17.59 petaflops on the Linpack benchmark was the world’s fastest in 2012. It was developed by Cray and currently installed at the Oak Ridge Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Titan became the second fastest supercomputer after China developed the Tianhe-2 with a performance of 33.86 petaflops on the Linpack benchmark in 2013.

Obama aims to maximize the benefits of HPC for economic competitiveness

The executive order of President Obama aims to maximize the benefits of high-performance computing (HPC) for economic competitiveness and scientific discovery.

President Obama emphasized that creating and deploying technology with the leading edge is vital to advancing the priorities of his administration and driving innovation.

The NSCI is a whole-of-government effort intended to create a cohesive, multi-agency strategic vision and Federal investment strategy. The government will collaborate with the industry and academia to execute the strategy and achieve its goal of maximizing the benefits of HPC for the United States.

Based on the executive order of President Obama, the-the NSCI will accelerate the development of an exascale computing system capable of integrating hardware and software to deliver approximately 100 times powerful than the current ten petaflops systems.

The NSCI has two foundational research and development agencies—the Intelligence Advance Research Projects Activity (IARPA) and the National Institute and Standards Technology (NIST), according to the executive order.

The IARPA will focus on future computing paradigms offering an alternative to the standard semiconductor computing technologies. The NIST will focus on measurement science to support future computing technologies.

Lead agencies for the NSCI

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) will lead the research and development of a new supercomputer.

The Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration of the DOE will focus on advanced simulation through a capable exascale computing program emphasizing sustained performance on relevant applications and analytic computing.

The NSF will handle scientific discovery advances, broader HPC ecosystem and workforce development. The DoD will focus on data analytics computing.

President Obama’s executive order also indicated that the NSCI has five deployment agencies including the National Aeronautics Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation (NBI), National Institutes of Health, Department of Homeland Security, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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