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IARPA to Develop Superconducting Supercomputer

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The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), a branch of the US intelligence community, announced on Friday that it will develop and build a new superconducting supercomputer.

It is working on a research project called the Cryogenic Computer Complexity program, or C3, and is a multi-year research effort. The superconducting supercomputer would have many great features, including it would increase the current computing capacity and also would reduce the energy consumption.

Generally, supercomputing uses the technology dependent on tens of megawatts and requires massive amount physical space to keep the infrastructure and power and cool the parts. But it is expected that C3 would use novel breakthroughs in supercomputing technologies.

“The power, space, and cooling requirements for current supercomputers based on complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology are becoming unmanageable”, affirmed Marc Manheimer, C3 program manager at IARPA.

Manheimer affirmed that the computers based on novel breakthroughs like new kinds of cryogenic memory would help in expanding the current computing facilities. All this will take place while abiding the space and energy budgets. There are chances that such feature may make the supercomputer development go beyond the exascale. Exascale refers to the computational limits of current supercomputing technology.

With the development of C3, the scientists involved in this project hopes to come up with a new generation of superconducting supercomputers that are far more energy efficient. Currently, China’s Tianhe-2 is considered to be the world’s fastest supercomputer. In June 2013, it made a record of 33.86 petaFLOPS, (a petaflop is equal to one thousand million calculations per second).

Record for distributed computing speed is also being held by China. It’s Milky Way 2, 55-petaFLOP, uses the BOINC infrastructure. One of the main aims of the C3 is to out-compute America’s enemies.

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“IARPA to Develop Superconducting Supercomputer”