The Department of Energy (DoE) and Intel announced today that they will team up to deliver the first supercomputer with a performance of one exaFLOP–“to a ‘quintillion’ floating point computations per second”–in the United States.

The computer, named Aurora, will be developed at DoE’s Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago. Intel will work with sub-contractor Cray on the $500 million-plus contract, and will deliver the supercomputer in 2021, according to a release from Intel.

Aurora will have the ability to handle both traditional high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI). According to Intel, this will “give researchers an unprecedented set of tools to address scientific problems at exascale.” The release said that the new computer will help with research projects ranging from “developing extreme-scale cosmological simulations, discovering new approaches for drug response prediction, and discovering materials for the creation of more efficient organic solar cells.”

“Achieving exascale is imperative, not only to better the scientific community, but also to better the lives of everyday Americans,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in a statement. “Aurora and the next generation of exascale supercomputers will apply HPC and AI technologies to areas such as cancer research, climate modeling, and veterans’ health treatments. The innovative advancements that will be made with exascale will have an incredibly significant impact on our society.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.