Unlike China and Europe, the U.S. has yet to adopt and fund an exascale development program, and concerns about what that means to U.S. security are growing darker and more dire.
China's retaking of the global supercomputing crown was the starting point for discussion at an IBM-sponsored congressional forum this week on cognitive computing.
Cognitive computing systems have the capability of taking vast amounts of data and making what will be, for all intents, thoughtful decisions.
Efforts to draw attention to exascale in the U.S. House are being led Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), who talked about China's new 33.89-petaflop system, Tianhe-2.
"It's important not to lose sight that the reality was that it was built by China's National University of Defense Technology," said Hultgren, who is finalizing a bill "that will push our nation toward exascale."
Hultgren is introducing legislation, the American Supercomputing Leadership Act, to require the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a coordinated exascale research program. The bill doesn't call for a specific spending level, but one source said about an annual appropriation of $200 million, if not more, will be sought.
That amount of money is well short of what's needed to build an exascale system, or a computer of 1,000 thousand petaflops. Each petaflop represents one thousand trillion floating point operations per second.
Earl Joseph, an HPC analyst at IDC, said that "$200 million is better than nothing, but compared to China and Europe it's at least 10 times too low."
Joseph said that it's his guess that the world will see an exascale system by 2015 or 2016 "installed outside the U.S. It will take a lot of power and it will be large, but it will provide a major capability."
I've seen this a few times before. First it was the evil japanese (back in the early 90s through the early 00s) and now its the scary chinese!
I have to snigger at Mr Joseph's time frame. oy. The contract will have to already been signed...and...uh.