Indianapolis (IN) - The National Science Foundation (NSF) received notice today that the National Science Board (NSB) has approved a resolution granting the NCSA receive funding to build a petaflop supercomputer at their facility in Urbana, Illinois.If the NSF follows the NSB's suggestion, the new system will be called "Blue Waters" and will go online in 2011. It is expected to cost $208 million to build over 4.5 years. NCSA was one of several hopeful supercomputing centers to submit a proposal for this petaflop machine. The highest performing supercomputer at NCSA today was just launched on July 2, 2007. It's called "Abe" and operates at 0.091 petaflops. This new machine will be more than ten times more powerful than Abe is today.
Two resolutions were officially approved. The first is called "Track 1: A Leadership-Class System," and is the Blue Waters machine. The second is a lesspowerful machine intended "to bridge the gap between current high-performance computers (HPC) and even more advanced petascale systems under development": Called "Track 2: Mid-Range High-Performance Computing Towards the Petascale," it will be a $65 million 5-year project targeted at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville Joint Institute for Computational Science (JICS).
Neither award is final. The NSF has its own review process to go through and will be making the final announcement in September, 2007. However, the NSB's endorsement will likely weigh in very heavily. And having spent some time with the folks at NCSA earlier this year, I can tell you that everyone there is most likely running down the halls with great excitement.