Yesterday, President Obama issued an executive order for America to build the fastest supercomputer in the next 10 years.

It creates the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI), a “whole-of-government effort” to advance the country’s supercomputing technology which is currently only second best to China and its supreme Tianhe-2 which is twice as fast as America’s.

Goals for the 2025 American supercomputing system:

  • Be 20 times faster than the Tianhe-2
  • achieve a rate of one quintillion calculations per second
  • run complex simulations and advance scientific research

The order outlines key aspects of the initiative:

  • America needs to develop supercomputer technology to compete and grow in economics and the sciences
  • The public and private sectors must collaborate
  • plan for post Moore’s Law era (keep advancing technology even when fitting twice as many components into a model doesn’t make it better anymore)
  • The agencies leading the effort will be the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will all be involved

The order gives the now established Executive Council of the NSCI (co-chaired by the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, John P. Holdren and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Shaun Donovan) 90 days to start implementing a plan that meets its objectives.

Sources: BBC, The White House

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