Computing giant AMD has been given a total of $12.6 million to research high-powered extreme-scale computing for the US Department of Energy. FastForward, the program under which it's being funded, is a joint effort between the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration. It's meant to spark research into exascale computers, which could process information a thousand times faster than present-day supercomputers, which are just starting to push petascale. $9.6 million will go to processor research, while $3 million is reserved for work on memory.

AMD has taken a backseat recently to competitor Intel, but its Opteron processors have been used in previous Department of Energy supercomputing projects and aren't likely to fade away any time soon. The company's general sales, however, are slowing: it's expected to announce weak second quarter profits. High-performance computing partnership Whamcloud was also awarded a FastForward grant.