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Exascale Computing Needs More Funding, Say Federal Computer Scientists

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Toshiba's Riken supercomputer.

At current Department of Energy funding levels, the U.S. will not have an exascale computer until the middle of the next decade, years after China succeeds in developing one, according to a researcher at Argonne National Laboratory.

Credit: Toshiba

Funding for the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) supercomputer efforts would need at least another $400 million annually to possibly build an exascale computer by 2020, according to Argonne National Laboratory's Rick Stevens. At current funding levels, the United States will not have an exascale computer until the middle of the next decade, Stevens adds.

The proposed fiscal 2014 budget shows the DOE Office of Science requesting $465.59 million for the Advanced Scientific Computing Research program and the National Nuclear Security Administration requesting $401.04 million for the Advanced Simulation and Computing Campaign.

Both Japan and China have large government investments in exascale development, and Stevens says under current funding levels, China will develop an exascale computer years ahead of the United States.

In addition, achieving exascale capability requires advances in several areas of computing, according to other experts. "Current system architectures today can't simply be scaled up to produce a useable and cost-effective system," says Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Dona Crawford.

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