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Here comes exascale, and it's about to change everything

This new computer era means that scientists, engineers, and researchers will be far better equipped to take on many of the world's biggest problems.

Unless you’re deep into the world of supercomputers, words like exascale and quintillion probably don’t get you excited. That’s something we hope to change.

The U.S. Department of Energy plans to roll out three exascale systems over the next three years, all with HPE Cray supercomputers, marking the next milestone in high-performance computing.

First, let’s get the speed out of the way. Exascale will be by far the fastest, most powerful supercomputer on the planet, able to run 10 to the 18th operations per second (OPS). That’s a billion-billion OPS, the equivalent of a quintillion. Here’s one way to think about a quintillion: It would take 40,000 years for a quintillion gallons of water to flow over Niagara Falls.

With the birth of the exascale era comes enormous opportunities, from breakthroughs in drug research (think COVID-19 and cancer), to new ways to tackle the climate crisis, to improving energy efficiency, and countless other benefits. Such technological advances will help companies do more with massive data sets, for example, and improve what they can do with AI. In fact, as has long been the case, government-funded projects eventually trickle down in ordinary and extraordinary ways that few see coming.

Please read: Five groundbreaking inventions funded by the U.S. government

Because exascale computers can compute 10 to the 18th calculations each second, Oct. 18 (10/18) has been declared National Exascale Day. That’s why over the coming weeks we’re celebrating all things exascale, highlighting the scientists and researchers from across the globe working to advance their disciplines in important ways that will benefit us all.

Please read: Q&A: Argonne National Laboratory's Rick Stevens talks about 'the biggest, baddest' computer in the world

Please read: Exascale Day celebrates the supercomputing industry and its achievements

The following video, exploring exascale as the space race of this century, shows you what’s possible with exascale and why it’s so vital.

At The Atlantic Festival in September,  Dr. Eng Lim Goh, senior vice president and CTO for AI at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, sat down for a discussion with Hayley Romer, publisher of The Atlantic. In the interview, which you can read about and watch here, Dr. Goh lays out the breakthroughs we can expect as we approach the next frontier of high-performance computing.

At HPE Discover Virtual Experience, Peter Ungaro, who leads HPE’s high-performance computing and mission-critical solutions business group, took part in a discussion about how supercomputers in the exascale era will change business and the world.

As we count down to Exascale Day on Oct. 18, we’ll be sharing more content, including articles, podcasts, and videos. Please check back and follow the conversation with #exascaleday.

This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.