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U.S. spending $425 million on Summit and Sierra supercomputers


The U.S. is focusing on technology. Specifically, they’ll be spending $425 million to research, and build, two supercomputers which would completely tip the global power scale in the tech space. The goal of the two machines would be to better, and more quickly dig research into the science, and nuclear weaponry – something the government as a whole has been placing extra emphasis on.

The U.S. Department of Energy will be the entity behind the development, and the project that will be seeing development is the FastForward2 program. The department will be giving $325 million to build “Summit,” and “Sierra,” two supercomputers that will be seeing development in the near future. Then, the last $100 million will be spent on extreme research, which will harshly rush the process of building and researching the components that can be used on these supercomputers.

IBM, Nvidia, and Mellanox will be the companies providing components for this soon-to-be-legendary supercomputer. The computers will run between five and seven times faster than the country’s current fastest computers. In China, the Tianhe-2 is the fastest computer performing 55 petaflops, and the newly built computers here will run at 150 and 100 petaflops.

A petaflop is the measurement for how fast a computer can execute calculations, and IBM was the first company to build a computer that could perform at a rate of 1 petaflop back in 2008. That National Nuclear Security Administration will be using Sierra “to ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent without testing,” according to Nvidia.

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Currently, Nvidia is known for their high-end graphics chips which are highly-favored by gamers and gaming personal computers. Now, the company is reaching into the computing world more specifically to tap into this supercomputer market that would work for enterprise customers, and in this case, government users as well.

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Overall, this will be a major step for the United States and their stance in the computing world, on a global scale. Currently, Asian countries’ have had a bit of greater success in these arenas but this will be a significant step in the direction of American dominance, should that bridge ever be crossed.

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