The United States is now committed to building an exascale computer, some 30 times more powerful than today’s top machine. Yesterday, President Barack Obama signed an executive order creating a national strategic computing initiative, which aims to coordinate high-performance computing research and development between federal agencies. The order should make it easier for agencies to justify increasing their budget requests to Congress for supercomputing R&D.
“This is an extremely important step for high performance computing in the U.S.,” says Horst Simon, deputy director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. The absence of a coordinated federal supercomputing effort had made it more difficult for agencies like the Department of Energy (DOE) to make their case with the Office of Management and Budget that they needed to boost supercomputing budgets, Simon says. The new order “reverses that.”