Futuristic Intel chips under the bonnet of supercomputer

tm40-whirlwindA supercomputer being installed in the Argonne National Laboratory will have more than 70 core Knight’s Hill architecture and some other fairly sexy interconnect.

According to the Platform the project – dubbed “Aurora” – will be the first time in 20 years that a chipmaker, as opposed to a systems vendor, has been awarded the contract to build a leading-edge national computing resource.

Aurora will reach a peak performance of 180 petaflops and will be so powerful it can calculate the existence of rice pudding and income tax before it is switched on in 2018.

The machine will be a next-generation variant of Cray’s “Shasta” supercomputer line, which it has been designing in conjunction with Intel since the chip maker bought the Cray interconnect business three years ago for $140 million.

The new $200 million supercomputer is set to be installed at Argonne’s Leadership Computing Facility and will be part of a trio of systems aimed at bolstering nuclear security initiatives.

Aurora, with its 180 petaflops peak will pull 13 megawatts. This is an 18X performance improvement in performance with just 2.7x the power.