Skip to Content
Computing

The US is building a $500m ‘exascale’ computer that will be the world’s most powerful

March 19, 2019

Officials claim the machine will be seven times faster than the current most powerful system.

A first: The Aurora supercomputer would be the first US computer to reach exascale performance, where a computer can do more than a quintillion calculations per second. The closest rival is a $200 million IBM system called Summit, which won the top spot among the world’s 500 most powerful computers last year.

The details: Aurora will be built by Intel at the Argonne National Laboratory, on the outskirts of Chicago. It’s scheduled to be ready in 2021.

Why? Making machines quicker at crunching data would help researchers with tasks like modeling climate change or finding new pharmaceutical drugs. The announcement must also be seen through the lens of China-US tech rivalry, particularly within the field of supercomputers.

Sign up here to our daily newsletter The Download to get your dose of the latest must-read news from the world of emerging tech.

Deep Dive

Computing

Linux hack concept
Linux hack concept

The US military wants to understand the most important software on Earth

Open-source code runs on every computer on the planet—and keeps America’s critical infrastructure going. DARPA is worried about how well it can be trusted

Close up of worker inspecting chip in a clean room
Close up of worker inspecting chip in a clean room

Corruption is sending shock waves through China’s chipmaking industry

The arrests of several top semiconductor fund executives could force the government to rethink how it invests in the sector.

inflection point post-NSO concept
inflection point post-NSO concept

The hacking industry faces the end of an era

But even if NSO Group is no more, there are plenty of rivals who will rush in to take its place. And the same old problems haven’t gone away.

The Western Union Building, 60 Hudson Street, c. 1931.
The Western Union Building, 60 Hudson Street, c. 1931.

Energy-hungry data centers are quietly moving into cities

Companies are pushing more server farms into the hearts of population centers.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.