Source: | April 13, 2015

aurora_anlThe Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a $200 million investment to deliver two next-generation supercomputers to the department’s Argonne National Laboratory.

The contract is the third and final part of the DOE’s $525 million Collaboration of Oak Ridge, Argonne and Lawrence Livermore (CORAL) initiative, which is developing systems that will be five to seven times more powerful than today’s top supercomputers.  Intel Federal LLC is the prime contractor and will deliver a system called Aurora, based on Cray “Shasta” supercomputers.

The Aurora system is expected to have a peak performance of 180 petaflops when it is delivered in 2018, making it the world’s most powerful system currently announced to date.  Supercomputers used for weather forecasting by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, by comparison, are currently being upgraded to five petaflops, while Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Titan supercomputer is capable of 27 petaflops.

Energy Under Secretary for Science and Energy Lynn Orr, in announcing the contract, said Aurora “will put the United States one step closer to exascale computing.”

Argonne National Laboratory Director Peter Littlewood said that few federal IT investments can match Aurora’s “potential to demonstrate dramatic progress and capability across many scientific disciplines and domains with real-world benefits.” The system will be open to all scientific users and is expected to advance key research in materials science, biological science and transportation efficiency.

Orr also announced a $10 million investment in a high-performance computing R&D program, DesignForward, which is led by DOE’s Office of Science and National Nuclear Security Administration.