The U.S. National Science Board has authorized funding for two of the world's most powerful supercomputers, one of them capable of petaflop-speed operations.
The Times reported that documents inadvertently published on NSF's Web site identified IBM as the leading candidate to build a supercomputer called Blue Waters, which would be about 500 times more powerful than most current supercomputers. Blue Waters is expected to go live in 2011, and the National Science Board's decision Wednesday approves funding of US$208 million over four and a half years.
Blue Waters is expected to be able to make arithmetic calculations at a sustained rate in excess of 1,000-trillion operations per second, or a petaflop per second.The National Science Board, which oversees NSF policies, also approved funding for a second, smaller supercomputer, intended to bridge a gap between current high-performance computers and more advanced petascale systems under development. The $65 million, five-year project will be located at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville Joint Institute for Computational Science.
It would have a peak performance of just under one petaflop, almost four times the capacity of the current NSF-supported Teragrid, the world's largest and most powerful distributed computing system for open scientific research. The Teragrid currently supports more than 1,000 projects and more than 4,000 U.S. researchers.