back to article Hey, US taxpayers. Filed your taxes? Good, good. $500m of it is going on an Intel-Cray exascale boffinry supercomputer

Intel will, as expected, provide the processors for the US government's exascale-grade Aurora supercomputer, due to be deployed in 2021. The contract to build the 1,000 peta-FLOPS beast – that's a machine capable of crunching a quintillion floating-point math calculations per second – will run to $500m, with Chipzilla …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    $500.000.000

    Will build about 125 of Mexican border wall or an Exacomputer.

    I know which is most likely to be beneficial to the US.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: $500.000.000

      Especially since the current head of the DoE promised to close the dept as an example of government waste if he was ever elected.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Hmm... and then there's "add-ons"... like for a border wall maybe another one up north and then one around the coasts with built in "bilge pumps" to keep certain places from being flooded.

    For the computer... add-ons such as maybe another one for NSA.

    Both will be huge and beautiful.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Northern border wall

      I hear the Canadians have already started on it.

      <sorry>

  3. Ima Ballsy
    Coat

    Yeah, but ...

    will it run:

    Crysis 3

    or

    Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

    at 4K ?

    Inquiring minds want to know !!!

    1. whitepines Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Yeah, but ...

      Since it's Intel...why not just use one of the ME exploits and try it?

      Icon 'cause while (sadly) this might just be feasible with Intel's nightmarish swiss-cheese "security" systems, don't try this at home unless you like rotting in Guantanamo Bay....

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, but ...

        You've brought up an excellent point, will they run Linpack with or without the Spectre/Meltdown/whatever patches?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Watch their lips move

    “Aurora and the next-generation of Exascale supercomputers will apply HPC and AI technologies to areas such as cancer research, climate modeling, and veterans’ health treatments.

    Yeah, right - that climate modelling would be of changes that the current administration doesn't even believe are happening, presumably? I think we can count on this being used for quite different benefits to society, primarily "better" nukes.

    1. sisk Silver badge

      Re: Watch their lips move

      Yeah, right - that climate modelling would be of changes that the current administration doesn't even believe are happening, presumably?

      Fortunately Trump doesn't actually run the government. It's far too complex a beast for his idiocy to completely inundate it in the 4 years of his Presidency (the only way he gets a second term with his approval ratings is if the Democrats are complete idiots and nominate one of their lunatic fringe). Even if by some infernal miracle (or DNC stupidity) he gets a second term he STILL won't have enough time to completely take over all the stuff our government does. There are a lot of better heads between him and whoever gets to decide what simulations are run on the governments supercomputers.

      For the record, I hold an equal amount of disgust for the GOP and the DNC. And slightly more for select fringe lunatics on both sides, of whom Trump is one.

      1. HellDeskJockey
        FAIL

        Re: Watch their lips move

        " (the only way he gets a second term with his approval ratings is if the Democrats are complete idiots and nominate one of their lunatic fringe)"

        Have you been watching US politics lately?

        Fail for obvious reasons.

      2. Claverhouse Bronze badge

        Re: Watch their lips move

        " (the only way he gets a second term with his approval ratings is if the Democrats are complete idiots and nominate one of their lunatic fringe)"

        Don't worry, Hillary has recently ruled out a comeback in order to facilitate a comeback by popular [ media ] demand, and will be installed to fulfil the Neocon Dream. They cannot permit disobedience as happened when voters went off-script in 2016 ever again.

        .

        "The MSM are the men that will not be blamed for nothing"

  5. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    The Cray look suffers from the loss of those awesome rounded couches

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Second chance for Intel?

    Worth remembering: the original Intel supercomputer was supposed to be delivered on the same schedule as the two Summit supercomputers. One of the contract requirements was that the same architecture could not win all three labs. The IBM/Nvidia/Mellanox group delivered both its machines, Intel did not.

    Oh, and those IBM machines run on Power.

    One of the other contract requirements was that everything in the solution had to be commercially available; the labs did not want to be out on an island with some unique configuration with no future and a rarity of skills.

    So yeah, I know it's popular to rag on IBM, and I know I'll get a bunch of downvotes for saying this, but the reality is that IBM's coalition got it done, Intel's did not.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Second chance for Intel?

      Personal experience is that the hardware is up and sucking amps in days. Any promised "solutions" to run on said hardware though ...

  7. Keith 12

    Do the US already have an Exascale Super?

    Mentioned more than once: "The super will be Uncle Sam's first publicly known exascale computer" - c'mon Chris - tell us more.

    I can see that various US agencies have placed various contracts over the last 6 years or so - do the US already (probably) have an Exascale Super as your cryptic comment(s) suggests?

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Do the US already have an Exascale Super?

      If it's not public, it's probably NSA.

      Gotta take a lot of MIPS to sort through all that realtime audio data looking for keywords.

      1. Keith 12

        Re: Do the US already have an Exascale Super?

        My thoughts exactly...

  8. vtcodger Silver badge

    Only $500M?

    $500M? That's the true cost of maybe half a dozen F-35s. Possibly fewer as Lockheed has been under pressure to get the sticker prices down and players in the US Military Industrial Complex are nothing if not cognizant of government wishes. They'll recover any paper losses one way or another. That's the way the game is played.

    Anyway, a supercomputer seems to me a better investment than a few copies of an extraordinarily expensive, and likely unnecessary fighter aircraft. And it's good to hear that Cray is still around in some form. Seymour Cray's mid and late 20th century computer designs (CDC 1604, 6600, 7600, etc) were really quite remarkable and were a joy to work with.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Only $500M?

      <CSB>

      When at University, an assembly language course was required. The standard option was PDP-11, but we EEs were second to the CS students, whose department owned the PDP-11s. In practical terms, this meant third shift (12M - 8A) time slots...not an appealing option. However, due to the fact that the U had just purchased a CDC Cyber-74, which came with a 1 year deployment of an Applications Engineer, there was a second option: two sections of CDC Cyber assembly language, and I jumped at the chance.

      Nominally, input/output was via punched cards. I did this once to say I'd done it, then used my personal Teletype for the rest of the assignments. Hardware floating point, 60 bit words, and someone who knew all the tricks to guide us. It was a wonderful experience.

      </CSB>

      // no blinkenlights icon?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “Aurora and the next-generation of Exascale supercomputers will apply HPC and AI technologies to areas such as cancer research, climate modeling, and veterans’ health treatments. The innovative advancements that will be made with Exascale will have an incredibly significant impact on our society.”

    and although discovered and, at least partially, developed by US Gov the medicines will bankrupt many and just be completely affordable to many more.

  10. Joe Gurman

    One has to wonder

    ....roughly how many GW of electrical power it will draw to run all the cores and GPUs at once.

  11. button pusher

    Serious use of tax $s

    The IRS could use a hardware upgrade, if they can't have an exascale computer how about a cast-off supercomputer?

  12. Hargrove

    It's still about

    the bandwidth and power consumption. . .

    The top end of the top500 HPCs has always been (and remains) something of a technological pecker-measuring contest. The marginal efficiency (that is the Rmax/Rpeak) for the HP Conjugate gradient benchmark for the top 3 in the Top 500 is interesting. The point is that if you really need the horsepower, you build a real supercomputer with a high bi-directional bandwidth, like RIKEN.

    So the key questions are: What is Exascale computing really going to be able to do, and who in the world might want to do that?

    Hint: The current population of the US is approaching 330 Million. Do the math and see how many MegaFLOPs per man, woman and child an exaFLOP comes to.

    Then consider the aggregate computing power that folks like Google, Microsoft, Facebook. . . the list is damned nigh boundless, are devoting to what they do.

    What could possibly go wrong?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019