American intelligence wants its cryogenic computer

SuperconductorMuch has already been written on the project of quantum computer, a computer ideal for NSA since theoretically it could instantly decrypt any encrypted message. In addition to this long-term research project, the IARPA (Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity) leads a research program that could offer US agencies a supercomputer’s power exaflopique without having to absorb the production of a nuclear power plant to operate. C3 (Cryogenic Computing Complexity) program relies on superconductivity to detonate the computing power while reducing the energy required to achieve this result.

The compute-intensive search of technological break

The objectives of the DOE (Department of Energy), a class Exascale supercomputer should enter production by the end of the Decade and its power consumption should be around 20 MW. A highly ambitious since objective Tianhe 2, the most powerful supercomputer currently in production in the world presents a power of 54.902 Tflops.
Supraconductor Reach 1,000,000 Tflops without consuming more will therefore take the tour de force. If Intel, AMD, nVidia are constantly working to improve the power and especially the energy efficiency of their chips, other tracks are being considered, including those of cryogenic processors. Cooled to a temperature close to the 0 point, these processors use superconducting materials. The power consumption is so tiny, the operating frequency can then fly away. Researchers hope to issue a processor running at 770GHz, providing a power of 100 petaflops for power consumption limited to only 200 kiloWatts.

IBM, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman chosen by the IARPA for the first phase

Le Lincoln Laboratory est parvenu a fabriquer une puce supraconductrice pleinement fonctionnelle composée de 40.000 jonctions Josephson en niobium.Lincoln Laboratory has already managed to manufacture a fully functional superconducting chip consisting of 40,000 Josephson junctions in niobium.

Lincoln Laboratory has already managed to manufacture a fully functional superconducting chip consisting of 40,000 Josephson junctions in niobium.

Of course, to achieve such performance, we forget the current CMOS technology. The IARPA has therefore chosen to IBM, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman project to develop components of a first prototype. IBM and Northrop Grumman have create cryogenic memory, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon system, interconnection and the logic of the machine. This is MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory that will produce the superconducting circuits and finally the NIST test all. The Lincoln Laboratory is already able to produce 70,000 chip Josephson junctions, but ‘only’ 40,000 junctions for a foncitonnelle chip. By comparison, the chip Intel Xeon PHi, specifically designed for intensive computing, has 5 billion transistors.

Translation : Bing Translator

Sources :

“US intel agency is developing a superconducting exascale computer and cryogenic memory”, ExtremeTech, December 4, 2014

“US intelligence agency IARPA launches supercomputing research initiative”, Computing, December 4, 2014

“SC2012: Top500 expects exascale computing by 2020”, ComputerWorld, November 14 2012

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