Congress funds exascale computer
The Energy Department is set to receive full funding for development of a supercomputer three orders of magnitude more powerful than today's most powerful computer--an exascale computer.
Under a set of consolidated spending bills for the current fiscal year known as an omnibus, DOE would be able to spend a requested $126 million on exascale development. The omnibus secured Senate passage Dec. 17 in a 67-32 vote a day after the House approved it 296-121. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law
Exascale computing would make possible models of phenomena currently not possible with today's tools, according to the Argonne National Laboratory, which stood up the Exascale Technology and Computing Institute in November 2010. For example, exascale supercomputers should be capable of making large scale simulations of worldwide climate change. A computer capable of executing an exaflop would be able to conduct one million trillion calculations per second.
In a report by a conference committee of lawmakers from both chambers convened to iron out differences between earlier versions of fiscal 2012 spending bills (fiscal 2012 began Oct. 1), lawmakers warn that they still have concerns about DOE's exascale strategy and planning.
Energy, they add, should have ready by Feb. 1 a plan that includes a target date by which an operational exascale platform should be operational, multi-year budget estimates and "minimum requirements for an exascale system, including power consumption efficiency goals."
- download the conference committee report DOE section (.pdf)
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