As requested in section 3172 of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an ad hoc committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will conduct a consensus study “reviewing the future of computing beyond exascale computing to meet national security needs at the National Nuclear Security Administration.” (Exascale refers to a computer that performs near or above 1018 floating-point operations per second.)
The study will review:
- NNSA’s computing needs over the next 20 years that exascale computing will not support;
- Future computing technologies for meeting those needs, including quantum computing and other novel hardware, computer architecture, and software;
- The likely trajectory of promising hardware and software technologies and obstacles to their development and their deployment by NNSA; and
- The ability of the U.S. industrial base, including personnel and microelectronics capabilities, to meet NNSA’s needs.
The work will be carried out in parallel unclassified and classified tracks. The full committee will gather information, deliberate, and develop its report on an entirely unclassified basis.
In considering item (1) above, the committee will coordinate its work with the work of the committee for the soon-to-be-launched congressionally mandated and
NNSA-sponsored Assessment of High Energy Density Physics. This coordination will be performed by the respective project staff and, to the extent feasible, through overlapping committee memberships and/or designated committee liaisons.
A separately appointed and appropriately cleared small subset of the full study committee will commence its work at approximately the midpoint of the study. It will review pertinent classified information relating to NNSA’s future computing needs. It will prepare an internal working document that will be submitted to NNSA for unclassified/public release and provided to the full study committee to inform its work.
The study committee will prepare an unclassified public report and the cleared subset of the committee will prepare a classified annex, as deemed appropriate.