Intel has been awarded a contract to create two next-generation supercomputers for the US Department of Energy (DoE) that should deliver top-level performance of 180 petaflops.
The DoE will use the systems at the Argonne National Laboratory, and Intel will deliver the first machine, a Cray Shasta-based supercomputer known as Aurora, by 2018.
Intel said that Aurora will be the "largest system currently procured worldwide", and is an acknowledgement of the company's skills in the high performance computing (HPC) market.
"The selection of Intel to deliver the Aurora supercomputer is validation of our unique position to lead a new era in HPC," said Raj Hazra, vice president of the Data Center Group and general manager of the Technical Computing Group at Intel.
"Intel's HPC scalable system framework enables balanced, scalable and efficient systems while extending the ecosystem's decades of software investment to future generations.
"We look forward to the numerous scientific discoveries and the far-reaching impacts on society that Aurora will enable."
A second system, called Theta, will be delivered in 2016 and will offer 8.5 petaflops on just 1.7MW of power.
Aurora will be used to research biofuels, disease control, advanced battery development and the improvement of transport systems.
Both machines will use Intel Xeon processors and the next-generation Intel Xeon Phi processors, or Knights Landing, but Aurora also gets a new non-volatile memory architecture and an advanced file system storage system dubbed Lustre.
The DoE has already contracted work on its ‘data-centric' research plans and systems, and a combination of IBM and Nvidia was awarded the work last year.
A report on V3's sister title The INQUIRER said that IBM welcomed the $325m commitment to its OpenPower chips and promised to deliver two machines, called Sierra and Summit, that will offer 100 petaflops and 150 petaflops respectively.
"Today's announcement marks a shift from traditional supercomputing approaches that are no longer viable as data grows at enormous rates," said IBM at the time.
"IBM's data-centric approach is a new paradigm in computing, marking the future of open computing platforms and capable of addressing the growing rates of data."
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