Obama orders development of world’s fastest computer

Barack Obama has called for the US to develop the world’s fastest computer by 2025.

The US President has signed an executive order calling for the machine to be 20 times quicker than the current fastest device, located in Guangzhou, China.

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The Office of Science and Technology Policy at the Whitehouse said that the work would enable the US to continue leading the High-Performance Computing (HPC) industry.

“Today, President Obama issued an Executive Order establishing the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) to ensure the United States continues leading in this field over the coming decades,” explained the Whitehouse blog post. “This coordinated research, development, and deployment strategy will draw on the strengths of departments and agencies to move the Federal government into a position that sharpens, develops, and streamlines a wide range of new 21st century applications.”

The supercomputer will be researched and constructed by the NSCI, a new government body set up with five key strategic themes. It aims to create systems that can apply exaflops of computing power to exabytes of data, keep the US at the forefront of HPC computing and improve HPC application developer productivity. It has also been tasked with making HPC readily available and establishing hardware technology for future HPC systems.

If the device is able to achieve its objectives it will be capable of making a quintillion calculations every second, also known as an exaflop. The computer itself would qualify as an exascale machine and would have applications for meteorologists, aviation experts and medical professionals, as well as any industry requiring complex calculations.

Read more: Tianhe-2 remains the fastest supercomputer in the world

The Tianhe-2 is currently the world’s fastest supercomputer and carries out calculations at 33.86 petaflops. The US clearly want to wrestle dominance away from the Chinese, but will be faced with a number of hurdles. It’s been estimated that the proposed US machine would be a huge resource drain, costing a minimum of £60 million in energy costs alone.