WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Six US technology companies will share $258 million in an attempt to develop the world’s first exascale supercomputer, a machine capable of performing at least one quadrillion calculations per second, the US Department of Energy announced in a press release on Thursday.
"The department's funding for this program is supporting R&D in three areas — hardware technology, software technology, and application development — with the intention of delivering at least one exascale-capable system by 2021," the release stated.
The $258 million in funding will be allocated over a three-year period, with companies providing additional funding amounting to at least 40 percent of the project cost, bringing the total investment to at least $430 million, the release explained.
Exascale refers to a machine capable of performing a quadrillion, or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000, calculations per second.
The press release noted that exascale systems will be at least 50 times faster than the nation’s most powerful computers today, and that global competition for this technological dominance is fierce.
The most powerful supercomputer in the United States — the Titan system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory — ranks third behind two systems in China, according to the release.
China recently announced plans to complete the world’s first exascale supercomputer prototype by the end of 2017, according to published reports.