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Spy agencies want low-energy system to solve 'interesting problems'

Patrick Thibodeau | Aug. 7, 2013
Government intelligence chief seeks help in building superconductor computer that could ease the path to exascale.

The budgets of U.S. intelligence agencies aren't disclosed, but they clearly need energy efficient computers.

The NSA is building a one million square foot, $1.2 billion data center in Utah. It will have the capacity to support 65 MW, which includes the power needed for the entire facility, not just its computers.

The world's fastest system, China's 33.86 petaflop Tianhe-2, has a peak power load of 16.7 MW, and uses 24 MW when cooling is added. That's a major share of a power plant's output.

Conventional computing systems, and their normal metal interconnects, "appear to have no path to be able to increase energy efficiency fast enough to keep up with increasing demands for computation," the government said.


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