World's Fastest Computer To Be Built At Argonne National Laboratory

Andy Dahn
March 18, 2019 - 7:47 pm

 (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- It's expected to be the world's fastest supercomputer and the first of its kind in the United States, and it's being built in the Chicago area.

It's called Aurora, a computer capable of 1 quintillion calculations per second.

"This type of computing power is not the stuff of science fiction," Paul Kerns, Director of the Argonne National Laboratory, said Monday. "We're on the cusp of achieving it today with the breakthrough of exascale computing."

The Lemont lab plans to have Aurora up and running by 2021.

"Combining AI with high performance computing will accelerate scientific discoveries to real-world problems," Kerns said. "That includes improving extreme weather forecasting, advancing medical treatments and furthering our understanding of the universe."

The U.S. Department of Energy is providing more than $500 million in funding for the project.

"There's just a lot more that we are going to be able to do," said U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry. "We're in the battle of opioid addiction. We can use these computers as our tool. We are determined to do more."

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois was also on hand for the project's announcement, and said Aurora will ensure "the next generation has a fighting chance."

The computer would be nearly 100 times faster than Theta, a supercomputer that Argonne unveiled in 2017.