Posted on May 12, 2004
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Bill Frist (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Congressman Zach Wamp (R-TN) today applauded the Department of Energy's announcement that Oak Ridge National Laboratory will receive $25 million in federal grants this year to build a leadership class computational facility. "High-end computing is one of the critical science fields in which our nation needs to be the world's leader," said Alexander. "The Japanese have held this distinction for the past two years, which is a very long time in the computing arena. Secretary Abraham's announcement will help put Oak Ridge National Laboratory and our nation back at the forefront of science." "The Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been leading the way in advanced computing for years, and today's announcement by the Department of Energy means that it will soon lead the world," said Frist. "High-speed computing is vital to our continued scientific advancement. This supercomputer will make the United States more competitive globally while creating jobs and economic growth for Tennessee." "The United States will regain international preeminence in high speed computing and Oak Ridge will again lead the way at the National Leadership Computing Facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory," said Wamp. "From biotechnology, bringing us new medicines, to fusion energy, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, to climate modeling, helping to clean the air we breathe, this investment will pay for itself many times over and bring greater prosperity to America. Secretary Spencer Abraham and Assistant Secretary Ray Orbach have again shown their great leadership and vision." The $25 million in funding will put ORNL on the path to deliver a 50 teraflop Cray system, a computer capable of performing 50 trillion calculations per second. The theoretical peak performance of this computer will exceed that of Japan's Earth Simulator which has a theoretical peak performance of 40 teraflops. The Earth Simulator is currently 2.5 times more powerful than any other computer in the world. With sustained funding for this program, ORNL's winning proposal would field a computer capable of performing 100 trillion calculations per second in 2006 with the possibility of upgrading to 250 trillion calculations in 2007. By evaluating and deploying multiple computer architectures, ORNL and its partners will ensure the availability of computing resources to sustain U.S. leadership in key scientific areas.