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The US Department of Energy has opened the bidding process for construction of the country’s second and third exascale computers, machines that offer 50–100 times the performance of the US’s fastest current supercomputer. Awarded contracts could be worth as much as $1.8 billion, according to a 9 April announcement by Energy secretary Rick Perry.

Exascale computers will be capable of performing at least 1018 floating-point calculations per second, or 1000 petaflops. China currently operates the world’s top two computers, rated at 93 and 34 petaflops by the independent Top 500 list. The US’s most powerful system, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL’s) Titan, is ranked fifth, at 18 petaflops.

ORNL and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) will house the newly announced systems, which will open in 2022 and 2023, respectively. The two new supercomputers will follow Aurora, an exascale system already in development by DOE that will be hosted at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) beginning in 2021.

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Category: Science