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Video: DOE Issues RFP for Exascale Supercomputers

Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy

Today Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced the DOE has issued a Request for Proposal for 2-3 Exascale machines. This should be welcome news for system vendors like Cray, who have seen a softening of the high-end HPC market.

Called CORAL-2, this RFP is for up to $1.8 billion and is completely separate from the $320 million allocated for the Exascale Computing Project in the FY 2018 budget. Those funds are mostly focused at application development and software technology for an exascale software stack.

“These new systems represent the next generation in supercomputing and will be critical tools both for our nation’s scientists and for U.S. industry,” Secretary Perry said.  “They will help ensure America’s continued leadership in the vital area of high performance computing, which is an essential element of our national security, prosperity, and competitiveness as a nation.”

The RFP is issued under the CORAL umbrella (Collaboration of Oak Ridge, Argonne, and Livermore). CORAL1 has already procured the following systems:

  • Aurora at Argonne National Lab (target completion date in 2021)
  • Summit at ORNL (2018 to 2023 timeframe)
  • Sierra at LLNL (2018 to 2023 timeframe)

This RFP (CORAL2) is designed to get bids from vendors to build two and (potentially) three new exascale supercomputers. Each system is expected to cost between $400 – $600 million.

The new RFP calls for systems to be housed at:

  • One will be at ORNL
  • One at LLNL
  • A possible third system at Argonne

Specifications:

  • According to the RFP, baseline performance for each system should be at least 1300 Petaflops/sec.
  • Power budget will go up to 40 Megawatts. Preferred power consumption for the system is 20-30 Megawatts.
  • MTBF is requested to somewhere around 6 Days

You may be wondering why this RFP was not issued under the auspice of the DOE’s Exascale Computing Project (ECP). The answer is that ECP is focused on preparing the software stack for Exascale and therefore does not run the system procurements.

The CORAL-2 Request for Proposal is released for publication on this website. Interested Offerors are advised to base their proposal responses on RFP documents available on this website and any subsequent RFP amendments.

Interested Offerors must submit all communication (questions, comments, etc.) about the CORAL-2 RFP to the UT-Battelle, LLC (UT-Battelle) Procurement Officer, William (Willy) Besancenez at CORAL2-Team@ornl.gov. The CORAL-2 RFP market survey phase is complete; therefore, interested Offerors are no longer permitted direct communication with the CORAL technical community except for regular business activities that do not pertain to the CORAL-2 RFP or as otherwise directed by the UT-Battelle Procurement Officer. Interested Offerors are advised to monitor this Web site for potential CORAL-2 RFP amendments and other CORAL-2 RFP information updates.

CORAL-2 Benchmark questions – and only benchmark-related questions – may be submitted via e-mail to coral2-benchmarks@llnl.gov.

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