US Government Awards Millions to HPE, Intel, and Others in Hopes They’ll Build Next-Gen Supercomputers

To try and edge the United States ahead of other countries in the arms race of building supercomputers, the Department of Energy today awarded a total of $258 million in funding to HPE, Cray, AMD, Intel, IBM, and Nvidia. The money will be put toward developing exascale computers, which are capable of a billion billion calculations per second.

The $258 million in funding will be allocated over a three-year contract period. Each company has also agreed to provide at least 40 percent of their individual total project costs, for a total investment of $430 million. Exascale computing can transcend the limits of regular computing. These limits include big data too large to ingest, outdated systems, and large energy consumption.

Engineers are concentrating on increasing the energy efficiency of these machines while boosting memory capacity for overall higher performance levels. They estimate they’ll need systems that are 10 times faster than today’s very best prototypes. The sheer performance capabilities of exascale computing could potentially deliver breakthroughs in many areas, ranging from the financial sector to scientific discovery.

In May, HPE announced the largest single-memory computer to date and the company’s biggest R&D program, calling it The Machine. HPE estimates that the memory-driven computing architecture could scale to 4,096 yottabytes, or 250,000 times the size of the digital universe today.
The other US-based companies that won the grant besides HPE will be in friendly competition, with the exception of one ally which Mannel wouldn’t name. Although developments may be decades away from commercialization, the final plan is to make these technologies available to the public, not just for military and government use.

Read more at The Verge