March 21, 2019 - Jeffrey Cohen, President US Advanced Computing Infrastructure, Inc.
According to an announcement by U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Perry on March 18, 2019, The DOE's Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, IL will host the first exascale classical computer, which is expected to deliver one quintillion floating point computations per second (an exaFLOP).
This high-level announcement of the agreement to spend USD $500M features statements from DOE Secretary Rick Perry, Argonne National Laboratory Director, Paul Kearns, Intel CEO Bob Swan, and Cray CEO Pete Ungaro. This is being developed by the U.S. Department of Energy Argonne National Lab, using new innovative future releases of Intel compute, memory, framework and software, and Cray networking technologies.
Assuming the High Performance Linpack (HPL) theoretical peak performance benchmark (Rpeak TFlop/s) was used to estimate the one quintillion FLOPS performance of Aurora, the new system would be approximately five times faster than the 2nd fastest supercomputer Summit (by IBM compute, software, framework, Nvidia graphical processing units, and Mellanox for networking), eight times faster than Sierra (IBM, Nvidia and Mellanox), and eight times faster than Sunway TaihuLight (Sunway) at solving dense systems of linear equations.
By 2021, the bar will be raised 5X to an exaFLOP scale. If this is a performance race, then we better get going. We together (quantum information scientists, hardware, software and networking creators) will have to work that much smarter to demonstrate that quantum technologies can solve very specific problems faster than the fastest classical supercomputers. We also need to continue developing the workforce of the future, and I congratulate University of Wisconsin at Madison for announcing a Masters Degree program in Quantum.
As an aside, a quintillion is a million trillions, and that is the number of operations per second that Aurora is expected to deliver.
Quantum Supremacy was discussed in 2012 by John Preskill in this important paper:
Preskill, John (2012-03-26). "Quantum computing and the entanglement frontier". arXiv:1203.5813 [quant-ph].
The Verge on June 12, 2018, here: The world's fastest classical computer, Summit, is in the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Lab. Produced by IBM (an IBM AC922 System) and Nvidia (Tesla V100 Graphics Processing Units, or GPUs) At a cost of $200M, this produces one fifth (1/5) of an exaFLOP.
The TOP500 list maintains a list of the top classical supercomputers and their performance benchmarks. The 52nd edition, from November 2018, was used in this article, and is found here.
University of Wisconsin-Madison announced a new Masters Degree in Physics-Quantum Computing here. Apply at https://grad.wisc.edu/. The application deadline for the fall 2019 semester is March 15, 2019.