Next Generation Supercomputing Technologies Coming to Argonne

Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) joined with U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, Department of Energy officials, and other members of Congress this morning to announce new High Performance Computing awards that will put the nation on a fast-track to next generation computing, which will help to advance U.S. leadership in scientific research and promote America’s economic and national security.  Lipinski helped write the 2010 America COMPETES Act that increased investments in computing and other innovation programs. 

Secretary Moniz announced $325 million to build two state-of-the-art supercomputers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.  Argonne National Laboratory will announce its award at a later time.

“We’re fortunate in Illinois to have two of the fastest supercomputers in the world in MIRA at Argonne and Blue Waters at the University of Illinois,” said Rep. Lipinski.  “These projects are critical to American competitiveness because by building faster supercomputers we extend the frontier on what is possible in computing technology.  That drives efforts to make processors smaller and faster and to make better use of new architectures.  The benefits can be seen in the smartphones we hold in our hands today that have more computational power than the fastest supercomputers did 30 years ago.  What we call Silicon Valley came about because of the large US investment in defense and scientific research, with a little help from scientists and engineers at Bell Labs.  Today, computing infrastructure is just as vital to keeping our economic engines going in the tech industry.  And high performance computers also have dozens of important applications across the research, industrial, and defense sectors.” 

The joint Collaboration of Oak Ridge, Argonne, and Lawrence Livermore (CORAL) was established in early 2014 to leverage supercomputing investments, streamline procurement processes, and reduce costs to develop supercomputers that will be five to seven times more powerful than today’s U.S. fastest systems when fully deployed.

“Supercomputers like MIRA have traditionally been a strength of the U.S. investment in research, but today that lead is being challenged by other countries,” Congressman Lipinski said.  “While the U.S. is home to 233 of the world’s 500 fastest computers as measured by the most recent Top 500 report in June, that’s down from 291 systems just five years ago.  Announcements like today’s are a big part of maintaining our lead in this field and I applaud Secretary Moniz and Director Peter Littlewood from Argonne for their leadership and vision in keeping the US at the forefront.”

Moving forward, Congressman Lipinski urged Congress to do its part in providing funding for high performance computing projects.  He said the Senate needs to follow the House’s lead and pass the American Super Computing Leadership Act, which would encourage more projects like the ones that were announced today.  He said fighting for increased investments for high performance computing and other critical areas of science is going to be one of his top priorities on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee in the next Congress.