IBM's Big Data research efforts just received a major boon, in the form of a $325 million contract awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

On Friday, the contract was announced detailing IBM's efforts to develop two new supercomputers, dubbed “Sierra” and “Summit." The supercomputing systems are expected to "advance innovation and discovery in science, engineering and national security,” and will have a peak performance exceeding 100 petaflops, and can move data to the processor at more than 17 petabytes per second, the release said.

As Big Data analytics is expected to drive innovation in science and national security applications for a range of sectors, including healthcare, engineering and critical infrastructure, the machines would be used for the “next major phase in the U.S. Department of Energy's scientific computing roadmap to exascale computing,” IBM said.