U.S. Department of Energy plans exaFlop supercomputer in 2021

The effort will leverage Cray's Shasta supercomputing platform as well as Intel technology.

The rise of supercomputers

The U.S. Department of Energy said it will deliver its first exaFlop supercomputer named Aurora built on Cray's Shasta architecture in 2021.

The U.S. DoE said that the system is being developed at its Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago. The contract, won by Intel and Cray, tops $500 million. 

Cray launched its Shasta supercomputer in October with a series of partners such as Intel, AMD, Marvell, Mellanox and Nvidia. Cray also was chosen for a supercomputer being delivered to the DoE in 2020. That system is code named Perlumutter.

The first one exaFlop supercomputer in the U.S. is designed for scientific research and discovery and data intensive workloads such as artificial intelligence. Argonne National Laboratory Director Paul Kearns said Aurora will combine high performance computing and AI to address a bevy of real world issues ranging from medical treatments to weather forecasting to developing new materials.

Aurora will include Intel's Xeon Scalable processor as well as the company's compute architecture, persistent memory and software. Cray contributes its Shasta architecture as well as more than 200 cabinets and Slingshot, a scalable interconnect.

The timing of the announcement is notable given that Nvidia is about to kick off its GDC conference on Monday.