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New Supercomputer for Argonne National Lab



Chicago Sun-Times


Argonne National Laboratory will get a new supercomputer that’s over 17 times faster than its existing one — the result of a $200 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, officials announced Thursday.

The supercomputer, named Aurora, is slated to be operating in 2018 and will replace Mira, Argonne’s current supercomputer, which is now the fifth-fastest in the world.

Aurora will be able to tackle many of the complex challenges in the world today, including materials science, biological science and renewable energy, the officials said.

“Aurora will allow the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility to remain highly focused on breakthrough science and engineering,” said Michael Papka, director of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility.

The award was announced at a news conference Thursday at the 1871 technology hub by U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., and Argonne Director Peter Littlewood.

Argonne is half of the DOE Leadership Computing Facility. The other half at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in northeastern Tennessee announced its supercomputing award last November.

The announcement Thursday is part of a collection of awards totaling $525 million, involving Argonne, Oak Ridge and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

Argonne, Oak Ridge and Lawrence Livermore are part of a collaboration that goes by the acronym CORAL (Collaboration of Oak Ridge, Argonne and Livermore).

The collaboration aims to leverage supercomputing investments and streamline procurement processes to save companies time and money on research-and-development and make them more competitive with their rivals worldwide.

Companies such as Boeing and GE Global Research have also used the labs’ resources to run simulations that let them conduct research more efficiently than they typically could without utilizing a supercomputing system like Mira.

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