President Obama has signed an executive order demanding that the US build the world's fastest supercomputer by 2025. The National Strategic Computing Initiative has been implemented to get the country building an Exascale machine and not fall behind rival nations in the technological arms race. This supercomputer will be developed by arms of the federal government and then be harnessed to speed up research into a wide variety of topics. One example is that the hardware will be used to help NASA better understand turbulence for aircraft design, while another is to crunch the numbers for medical researchers.
The US may have more of the Top 500 supercomputers than any other nation, but its prestige in this area is slipping to nations like China and Japan. China's Tianhe-2 has been the world's fastest machine for two and a half years in a row, and the list's authors feel that the US approaching is plunging to a "historical low." With the weight of the federal government behind it, the NSCI is hoping to steal a march on its rivals and break new ground in the high performance computing sphere. With all of the various challenges that the planet is facing -- challenges that we're told Exascale computing will be able to fix -- it can't come soon enough.