New Supercomputer for Science Research

Posted on November 17, 2008  Comments (1)

photo of Jaguar Supercomputer

“Jaguar is one of science’s newest and most formidable tools for advancement in science and engineering,” said Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, DOE.s Under Secretary for Science. The new capability will be added to resources available to science and engineering researchers in the USA.

80 percent of the Leadership Computing Facility resources are allocated through the United States Department of Energy’s Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program, a competitively selected, peer reviewed process open to researchers from universities, industry, government and non-profit organizations. Scientists and engineers at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are finding an increasing variety of uses for the Cray XT system. A recent report identified 10 breakthroughs in U.S. computational science during the past year. Six of the breakthroughs involved research conducted with the Jaguar supercomputer, including a first-of-its-kind simulation of combustion processes that will be used to design more efficient automobile engines. Read the computational science report. Read full press release.

ORNL’s Jaguar fastest computer for science research

Jaguar will be used for studies of global climate change, as well as development of alternative energy sources and other types of scientific problem-solving that previously could not be attempted.

Zacharia said ORNL’s Jaguar was upgraded by adding 200 Cray XT5 cabinets – loaded with AMD quadcore processors and Cray SeaStar interconnects – to the computer’s existing 84 Cray XT4 cabinets. The combined machine resulted in the new standard for computational science.

The peak operating speed is apparently just below that of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s IBM Roadrunner system, which is designed for 1.7 petaflops. But the Jaguar reportedly has triple the memory of Roadrunner and much broader research potential.

Because the Jaguar has come online sooner than expected, Zacharia said an alert was sent to top U.S. scientists inviting them to apply for early access to the Oak Ridge computer. Their scientific proposals will be reviewed on an accelerated timetable, he said.

The peak capability of 1.64 petaflops is attributed to 1.384 petaflops from the new Cray XT5, combined with 0.266 petaflops from the existing Cray XT4 system, Zacharia said.

How fast is a quadrillion calculations per second? “One way to understand the speed is by analogy,” Zacharia said recently. “It would take the entire population of the Earth (more than 6 billion people), each of us working a handheld calculator at the rate of one second per calculation, more than 460 years to do what Jaguar at a quadrillion can do in one day.”

Related: National Center for Computational Sciences at ORNL site on Jaguar (photo from here) – Open Science Computer GridDonald Knuth, Computer ScientistSaving FermilabNew Approach Builds Better Proteins Inside a ComputerDoes the Data Deluge Make the Scientific Method Obsolete?

One Response to “New Supercomputer for Science Research”

  1. Gary Catona
    November 23rd, 2008 @ 12:34 pm

    Great blog. Keep on blogging!

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