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Michael Papka, director of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, is shown in the Theory and Computing Sciences Building at Argonne National Laboratory. Argonne is getting a new supercomputer that’s over 17 times faster than its existing one. | File Photo

New supercomputer for Argonne National Lab

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SHARE New supercomputer for Argonne National Lab

Argonne National Laboratory will get a new supercomputer that’s over 17 times faster than its existing one — the result of a $200 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, officials announced Thursday.

The supercomputer, named Aurora, is slated to begin operating in 2018 and will replace Mira, Argonne’s current supercomputer, which is now the fifth-fastest in the world.

Aurora will be able to tackle many of the complex challenges in the world today, including materials science, biological science and renewable energy, officials said.

“Aurora will allow the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility to remain highly focused on breakthrough science and engineering,” said Michael Papka, director of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility.

The award was announced at a news conference Thursday at the 1871 technology hub by U.S. Reps. Dan Lipinski, Bill Foster and Randy Hultgren and Argonne director Peter Littlewood.

Argonne is half of the Energy Department’s Leadership Computing Facility. The other half, Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, announced its supercomputing award last November.

The announcement Thursday is part of a collection of awards totaling $525 million, involving Argonne, Oak Ridge and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

The three labs are collaborating to leverage supercomputing investments and streamline procurement processes to save companies time and money on research-and-development and make them more competitive with their rivals worldwide.

Companies such as Boeing Co. and GE Global Research have also used the labs’ resources to run simulations.

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