International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) Win Department of Energy Super Computer Contract


International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) Win $325 million Department of Energy Super Computer Contract

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced yesterday that International Business Machines Corp (NYSE: IBM) and NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) won government funding for two high-performance supercomputers. In addition the DOE announced another project called “Fast Forward 2” to go even further and build a fast energy efficient super computer for the uses of advancing national security and science.

IBM/NVIDIA were awarded $325 million to build two supercomputers for the Department of Energy going toward two state-of-the-art supercomputers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. $100 million will go to fund “extreme scale” super-computing technologies in an R&D program known as “Fast Forward 2.”, which will be be led by computing industry leaders AMD, Cray, IBM, Intel and NVIDIA.

The supercomputers, to be installed in 2017, will be based on next-generation IBM POWER servers with NVIDIA Tesla GPU & NVLink high-speed GPU interconnect technology.

Oak Ridge National Lab & Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The “Summit” system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will be capable of delivering 150 to 300 peak petaflops, and be used for open science. While the “Sierra” system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will serve national nuclear security missions and deliver performance well in excess of 100 peak petaflops. The systems are considerably faster than the current speed champ in the US the Oak Ridge “Titan” which delivers 27 peak petaflops and the Tianhe-2 at China’s National Super Computer Center, in Guangzhou, which leads the world with 55 peak petaflops.

World producing more then 2.5 billion gigabytes of data every day

According to IBM, the world is generating more than 2.5 billion gigabytes of data every day which is equivalent to 250 million football fields full of books which requires new approaches to super-computing.

Fast Forward 2

The Department of Energy’s goal is to build exascale systems that operate at quintillions of floating point calculations per second that are at least 30 times faster than today’s leading petaflop supercomputers like the system in China. Fast Forward 2 will aim to solve constraints in power consumption which are holding back developing systems through energy-efficient processors and better programming systems and improved memory technology.

The DOE has set a target of an exascale system that consumes less than 20 megawatts by 2020.

Overall Goal

The Department of Energy states the overall goal of both programs is to establish the foundation for the development of exascale computing systems that would be 20-40 times faster than today’s leading supercomputers.

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