A new arm of the U.S. government is working to create the world’s fastest supercomputer within the next 10 years. President Obama signed an executive order on Wednesday creating the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI), which will coordinate research, development, and deployment of ultra-powerful computer systems. NSCI’s first task, according to the White House, is to whip up a computer 20 times more powerful than China’s Tianhe-2–currently the leading supercomputer in the world.
Competition between the United States and China in the supercomputer sphere is one of the major reasons for the new initiative. The new machine would be able to make one quintillion calculations per second–otherwise known as an exaflop, or one billion squared operations a second. The U.S. was already en route to cracking this figure by 2023, according to IEEE Spectrum.
In a blog post, the White House said the NSCI will focus on creating big data-friendly computers for complicated tasks like computational fluid dynamics, precision medicine, and large-scale weather simulations.