Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge (ORNL)

High-performance computing roundup

Sandia National Laboratory has developed a new test to help evaluate the Top500, the project that ranks and details the world's 500 most powerful computer systems. The High Performance Computing Gradients program better reflects the practical current supercomputing application programs that use sparse data structures, where many of the data elements are zero, such as for analysis of social media influence where there are millions of relationships, but few meaningful ones. The HPCG is designed to complement LINPACK benchmarks that measure supercomputers' performance of compute-rich algorithms on dense data structures.

The White House's fiscal year 2021 budget proposed $475 million for exascale computing "to help secure the United States as a global leader in supercomputing" by deploying an exascale system in 2021 and another the following year. The request funds research, development and design activities to achieve a five-fold improvement in application performance over the Summit system at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility as well as support for big data, artificial intelligence technologies and quantum information science centers.

The Navy Department of Defense Supercomputing Resource Center at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi is set to install a Cray-AMD system, the most capable supercomputer to date in the DOD's High Performance Computing Modernization Program. The 12.8 petaflop machine will serve users from all of the services and Defense agencies and is expected to enter production early in fiscal year 2021.

The U.K. government is investing £1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) over 10 years in a supercomputer to be managed by the Meteorological (Met) Office to improve weather and climate forecasting. Data from this new supercomputer -- expected to be the world’s most advanced dedicated to weather and climate -- will be used to help more accurately predict storms, select the most suitable locations for flood defenses and predict changes to the global climate, officials said. The first phase of the deployment will increase the computing capacity by six-fold, the Met Office said.

Officials at Penn State University's Institute for Computational and Data Sciences want a more-inspiring name for their Advanced CyberInfrastructure (ICDS-ACI) high-performance system. In its search for a catchy name like Summit or Titan -- two supercomputers at Oak Ridge National Lab -- or Stampede or Lonestar at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, the university has received more than 400 suggestions and will release a list of its favorite names on Feb. 23 for the public to vote on. 

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