Exaflop supercomputer project begins, thanks to executive order from President Obama

IBM Roadrunner Supercomputer
Sometimes great advances in computing come from a technological development, or a new invention, or out of a need for greater processing power. And sometimes they come from Obama. This is the latter case, as the President has signed the National Strategic Computer Initiative, an executive order that sets the lofty goal of producing an American supercomputer with an exaflop of processing power.

Of course, a high powered computer needs high power processing, and Nvidia is eager to step up to the plate to create the system. The manufacturer claims GPUs are well suited for this sort of high power parallel computing, and there’s a also new technology on the way that will help make the process even smoother, called NVLink.

NVLink is a new interface protocol for improving the speed and reliability of communication between CPUs and GPUs, which should help diversify the type of processing power that’s included in the supercomputing effort. Nvidia will also leverage the OpenACC toolkit, a system the manufacturer developed that allows software to run on large scale systems without having to rewrite code.

At the moment, the world’s most powerful supercomputer is China’s Tianhe 2, but the second place computer is located in the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Those machines only produce a theoretical 54.9 and 27.1 petaflops of performance respectively, which is equal to several hundred high-end personal computers working together. An exaflop supercomputer would be capable of 1000 petaflops, almost 20 times the theoretical power of Tianhe 2.

There are currently two major new systems planned for the Department of Energy that are already underway, and those two systems will help pave the way for the larger scale effort. These supercomputers have a number of uses in the big data field, but the upcoming systems specifically are headed for use in the medical field. Between brain mapping, genome, and prescription drug projects, there’s a high demand for more powerful research and development machines.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robo sidekicks, AC for your bed, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Don’t get burned! How to back crowdfunding projects the smart way

In the world of crowdfunding, there’s no such thing as a sure thing. There's a million reasons why a project might fail. But with this handy guide, you'll be able to spot the signs of a sketchy project and decrease your chances of getting…
Emerging Tech

Georgia is paving the way for a high-tech, sustainable highway

A consortium of government, corporate, and non-profit entities have come together to build a “smart” highway in Georgia. See how this 18-mile route is setting an example for future constructions.
Emerging Tech

Materials scientists have found a way to make graphene twice as tough

Graphene may be stronger than steel, but its extreme thinness also means it can tear. Researchers have found a way to make it more than twice as tough, using carbon nanotubes for reinforcement.

Lenovo’s new mobile workstations pack a punch with Xeon CPUs, Quadro graphics

Lenovo has two new mobile workstations arriving at the end of August based on eighth-gen Intel Core and Xeon processors. The ThinkPad P1 is the thinnest of the two at 0.7 inches while the bigger ThinkPad P72 measures 1 inch.

At Def Con, children show how easy it can be to hack an election

How hard is it to hack a voting machine or government website? Well, it turns out that it is literally child's play. Def Con tasked a group of children with hacking replica government websites, and many proved successful.
Product Review

5 generations later, Microsoft's Surface Pro is still the best 2-in-1 out there

At first glance, the 2017 Surface Pro looks like an incremental update to the Surface Pro 4, which was already our favorite detachable tablet. But does the newest version earn its own place at the top of the 2-in-1 heap?
Smart Home

Samsung SmartThings adds A.I.-based Wi-Fi for faster, smarter home networking

Samsung introduced the SmartThings Wifi, an A.I.-based multifunction mesh networking router with an integrated smart home hub. The device intelligently allocates network speed and bandwidth based on device and application needs.

Intel’s ninth-generation CPUs could launch on October 1

New rumors point to an October 1 release date for Intels' next-generation CPUs. The 9900K, 9700K, and 9600K could all debut in just a few weeks time, offering higher clocks and increased core counts.

AMD’s new 32-core Ryzen Threadripper chip is out, and you can get one for free

AMD’s 32-core Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX CPU is now available for $1,800. It’s compatible with motherboards packing the TR4 socket and the X399 chipset. The only other new Threadripper chip arriving this month will be the 2950X.

Google may launch two Pixelbook 2 laptops in October

Google may have a new Pixelbook design to show off in just a few weeks, with a new rumor suggesting two variations on the new laptop will be showcased at the start of October with new Intel hardware under the hood.

Wage war on a budget with these fun and free first-person shooters

We all know about Halo and Call of Duty by now, but what about quality titles that won't cost you upward of $60? Check out our picks for the best free first-person shooter games from Paladins to Quake Champions.

Apple preps production of updated MacBook Air for a 2018 launch

To reach its rumored launch timeline of later this year for its low-cost notebook, Apple is expected to begin production of its updated MacBook Air soon. The sub-$1,000 laptop could launch as early as September or October.
Smart Home

White-hat Chinese hackers turn Alexa into a spy, briefly

A team of Chinese researchers revealed this week that they were able to use a cracked Amazon Echo to exploit a series of Alexa interface flaws to take control over an unteuched Echo running on the same network.