WASHINGTON (Web Desk) – President Obama has signed an executive order calling for the US to build the world’s fastest computer by 2025.
The supercomputer would be 20 times quicker than the current leading machine, which is in China.
It would be capable of making one quintillion (a billion billion) calculations per second – a figure which is known as one exaflop.
A body called the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) will be set up to research and build the computer, the BBC reported.
The US is seeking the new supercomputer, significantly faster than today’s models, to perform complex simulations, aid scientific research and national security projects.
It is hoped the machine would help to analyse weather data for more accurate forecasts or assist in cancer diagnoses by analysing X-ray images.
A blog post on the White House website also suggests it could allow NASA scientists to model turbulence, which might enable the design of more streamlined aircraft without the need for extensive wind tunnel testing.
Such a computer would be called an exascale machine.
Today’s fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-2 in China’s National Computer Centre, Guangzhou, performs at 33.86 petaflops (quadrillions of calculations per second), almost twice as fast as the second-quickest machine, which is American.
Efforts to construct an exascale computer are not entirely new.
Recently, IBM, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) and the University of Groningen announced plans to build one to analyse data from the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope project.
SKA will be built in Australia and South Africa by the early 2020s.