Alexander: Oak Ridge Again Number One in The World in Supercomputing

Posted on June 8, 2018

“Today’s announcement by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory is further proof that Oak Ridge’s scientific brainpower, energy research and technological capabilities are some of the best in the world.”   

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2018 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory that it has built the world’s most powerful supercomputer, known as “Summit,” and has taken the next step toward successfully building the next generation of “exascale” supercomputers by 2021 means “Oak Ridge again is number one in the world in supercomputing.”

“Scientists around the world have been working to develop supercomputers for years – but scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory just built the fastest and most powerful one,” Alexander said. “Today’s announcement by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which comes on the 75th anniversary of the city of Oak Ridge, that it will again house the most powerful and smartest supercomputer in the world, Summit, is further proof that the area’s scientific brainpower, energy research and technological capabilities are some of the best in the world. I’m proud of this area and what we have been able to accomplish, and I thank Energy Secretary Perry for coming to Oak Ridge today to celebrate this historic moment.”

Alexander continued: “Science, research and innovation is what made America first, and I recommend that President Trump add supercomputing to his ‘America First’ agenda. The Senate Appropriations Committee I serve on approved a bill last month that included the fourth consecutive year of record funding for the Office of Science, which is the most important Department of Energy program that supports work at our 17 national laboratories, including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory – and $677 million to establish U.S. leadership in exascale supercomputing. Imagine a computer about 1 trillion times faster than your home computer – used to help find cures and treatments for diseases; protect against cyberattacks; more accurately predict the weather; and help federal agencies eliminate waste and fraud.

“President Trump has signed the last two appropriations bills that provided record funding for supercomputing, and I hope he will take some credit for making sure America has the most competitive supercomputers in the world and that he will continue to support funding for supercomputing so we can stay ahead of China.”

Today, the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) announced the public debut of Summit as the most powerful and smartest supercomputer in the world.  Supercomputers can be used to solve problems in virtually every area of scientific research, and having the fastest supercomputer in the world will allow scientists at Oak Ridge to solve bigger problems and simulate more complicated things.  Summit will also attract the best researchers in the world to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry was in Oak Ridge for the announcement, along with Ginni Rometty the President and CEO of IBM.

In 2004 Alexander supported the establishment of the Department of Energy’s first Leadership Computing Facility, with the mission of reasserting U.S. leadership in supercomputing following the announcement of Japan’s powerful Earth Simulator system.  Supercomputing has evolved dramatically over the past 14 years, thanks to consistent federal research funding.  The Summit supercomputer is more than thirty thousand times (31,250) more powerful than the Phoenix supercomputer that was first deployed at ORNL in 2004.  

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