President Obama wants the U.S. to build the world's fastest computer. And he's not asking.

Every president gets one moment to encourage America to do something really, really impressive.

JFK inspired us to go to the moon.


And Stanley Kubrick really made it look like we did! Photo via Pixabay.

George W. Bush pitched putting people on Mars by 2030.

15 more years! 15 more years! Photo by NASA.

And President Obama finally had his moment this past week when he challenged all Americans to come together as one and...

...build a really, really fast computer.


One that can run Oregon Trail and WordPerfect at the same time. Photo by Cornellanense/Wikimedia Commons.

OK, so it's not as flashy as going to the moon or Mars. But it's still a pretty big deal. Possibly an even bigger deal.

'Cause Obama doesn't have just any computer in mind.

He wants America to build the world's fastest computer. By 2025.

He issued the challenge in the form of an executive order to boot. So, technically, he ordered us to build the world's fastest computer.

Second term, balls-to-the-wall, IDGAF Obama, FTW.

According to Chris Baraniuk at the BBC, the kind of computer Obama has in mind could actually be a pretty big technological leap forward.

And not just in a highly-technical-scientific-techno-I-don't-totally-understand-this-but-OK way, but in some pretty neat, tangible ways that affect lots of folks' daily lives:

"The US is seeking the new supercomputer, significantly faster than today's models, to perform complex simulations, aid scientific research and national security projects.

It is hoped the machine would help to analyse weather data for more accurate forecasts or assist in cancer diagnoses by analysing X-ray images.

A blog post on the White House website
also suggests it could allow NASA scientists to model turbulence, which might enable the design of more streamlined aircraft without the need for extensive wind tunnel testing."


A computer that will give us better weather and climate data? That's awesome. It could even legit help us rescue the planet.

A computer that will carry out super-advanced cancer screenings? That could save lots of real human lives.

And turbulence is ... really, really annoying. I'd sign up for having a giant supercomputer design planes that can move through it like it's NBD.

All good.

Which raises the question...

Can we actually build it?

It's probably going to be pretty expensive, requiring an annual electricity bill of around $90 million per year. And it's going to require a lot of really smart people thinking really smart thoughts for a lot of hours to get us there.

But think about it.

If we could go from this:

OK, so this isn't the plan for 2025 after all. Photo by Cornellanense/Wikimedia Commons.

To this:

Photo by Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images.

In the span of a little more than 20 years...

It's pretty cool to think about how much further we can go in the next 10 years.


Photo by Alistair McMillan/Flickr.

OK, we might have to wait another few decades for the Enterprise computer.

But with POTUS backing the project, I bet those fancy future weather forecasts are gonna be pretty neat.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

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Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.