Russia Plans to Build Exascale Supercomputer in 2020

September 29, 2011, Thu 11:50 AM  Integration

Like China and Japan, Russia intends to build an exascale supercomputer in 2020. A possibility of being there on time has been preliminarily estimated at around $1,5 bln by the local experts.

Russian specialists have prepared a concept of exascale technology development in the country in 2012-2020. This was reported by the document authors at a recent meeting of Russia`s National HPC Technology Platform that CNews has attended.

The group of the document authors consists of experts from the Russian state nuclear corporation - Rosatom, institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences and some leading local universities. The workgroup was formed for concept preparation by the interdepartmental group for supercomputing development in Russia, headed by Rosatom CEO Sergey Kirienko.

At the moment the document is being updated with suggestions by the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communication who wants to add GRID networks to the concept, the Ministry representatives said to CNews. After the update, the concept will be shown for approval to one of the Russia`s presidential units this October, said one of the workgroup members.

The document has been in work for over half a year by now. The concept authors marked it implies stage-by-stage construction of an exascale super, as well as development of a special processor for exascale computing, HPC platforms, system and applied software.

The exascale machine is not to be an all-purpose computing instrument, they also say, but intended for only a number of narrow compute jobs in some strategically important sectors, such as defense and oil&gas industry.

This year the Federal Nuclear Center located in the Russian city of Sarov, which is part of Rosatom corporation, announced launch of the first petascale system in the country built by its own engineers. Due to the organization`s high secrecy level this supercomputer has not been applied to any HPC ratings. According to the workgroup members, in 2014-2015 it is planned to build a system with performance of upto 10-15 Pflops, in 2017-2018 – to 100 Pflops, and in 2012 try build an exascale computer. It is not, however, specified yet, if it is all going to be extentions onto Rosatom`s initial cluster or different systems.

A source close to the concept workgroup said to CNews the preliminary budget of the project is estimated at around 45 billion rubles (nearly $1,5 bln by the current exchange rate). Another source, familiar with the document, has confirmed the amount is around that. However, after the concept is updated and approved by the state units, the final budget might change, he says, suggesting the amount could exceed 55 billion rubles (nearly $1,8 bln by the current exchange rate).

The same source also says the concept proposes certain project contractors. Fundamental research is supposed to go to academic organizations while the hardware part – to Rosatom and T-Platforms. The latter, says CNews source, could participate in the system architecture development and be involved in the microelectronics works.

It stands to remind that the most powerful supercomputer in Russia, according to the local Top-50 list, now has performance of 1,3 Pflops and is installed in Lomonosov Moscow State University.

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