NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The Jefferson Lab in Newport News has been selected by the Department of Energy to lead a new “high performance data facility.”

The project is expected to get more than $300 million in federal funding over several years, and Monday Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) called it “the single biggest technology investment in Hampton Roads ever.”

Said Jefferson Lab Director Stuart Henderson: “Today’s announcement is nothing short of a gamechanger for Newport News, for the RVA 757 mega region, and for the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

The mission of the HPDF will be to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and unlock solutions to our nation’s energy, climate, security and health challenges.

“That is so exciting, think of the future possibilities based on super computing technology that can digest and analyze and unlimited amount of data,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine helped lead the effort to bring the facility to Jefferson Lab, along with Gov. Glenn Youngkin and other lawmakers.

“The selection of Jefferson Lab as the location and lead of the High Performance Data Facility is a monumental win for the Lab, Hampton Roads, and the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Warner added in a release Monday morning. “Since my days as Governor, I have pushed to broaden the mission and responsibilities of Jefferson Lab to reflect the current needs of our nation. Today’s announcement is a massive step towards realizing the goal of diversifying the mission of Jefferson Lab by providing the Lab with a critical national resource that will be used to tackle fundamental problems in science and engineering, including artificial intelligence research.”

With this being the fastest growing sector of our nation’s economy, Governor Youngkin expects this is only the beginning.

“We will see huge high performance computing companies want to relocate, want to collaborate, want to share . We will see workforce development like we’ve never seen before.”

As far as how that might effect our local economy, Henderson said: “To give you an idea of the economic impact, a recent study showed that each dollar invested in high performance computing returns $507. I think any of us would like that kind of return on investment.”

Henderson said the facility is expected to be constructed over the next five or six years, but data could start to flow in about one year.

You can watch the full announcement in the video directly above.

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