NERSC supercomputing center breaks the petaflops barrier

Nov 16, 2010

The Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), already one of the world's leading centers for scientific productivity, is now home to the fifth most powerful supercomputer in the world and the second most powerful in the United States, according to the latest edition of the TOP500 list, the definitive ranking of the world's top computers.

NERSC's newest supercomputer, a 153,408 processor-core Cray XE6 system, posted a performance of 1.05 petaflops (quadrillions of calculations per second) running the Linpack benchmark. In keeping with NERSC's tradition of naming computers for renowned scientists, the system is named Hopper in honor of Admiral Grace Hopper, a pioneer in software development and programming languages. The system, installed d in September 2010, is funded by DOE's Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.

Established in 1974, NERSC is located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California and provides computing systems and services to more than 3,000 researchers supported by the Department of Energy (DOE). NERSC's users, located at universities, national laboratories, and other research institutions around the country, report producing more than 1,500 scientific publications each year as a result of calculations run at NERSC.

"While we are elated to have entered the petascale performance arena, we are especially excited by the computational science potential offered by Hopper," said Kathy Yelick, Director of the NERSC Division and Associate Laboratory Director of Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab. "We selected Cray as the system vendor after a competitive procurement based in large part on how proposed systems performed running our application benchmarks. Now that the system is installed and operational, we will begin our acceptance testing in which we run some of the most demanding scientific applications to ensure that Hopper will meet the day-to-day demands of our users."

NERSC serves one of the largest research communities of all supercomputing centers in the United States. The center's supercomputers are used to tackle a wide range of scientific challenges, including global climate change, combustion, clean energy, new materials, astrophysics, genomics, particle physics and chemistry. The more than 400 projects being addressed by NERSC users represent the research mission areas of DOE's Office of Science.

The increasing power of supercomputers helps scientists study problems in greater detail and with greater accuracy, such as increasing the resolution of climate models and creating models of new materials with thousands of atoms. Supercomputers are increasingly used to compliment scientific experimentation by allowing researchers to test theories using computational models and analyzed large scientific data sets. NERSC is also home to Franklin, a 38,128 core Cray XT4 with a Linpack performance of 266 teraflops (trillions of calculations per second). Franklin is ranked number 27 on the newest TOP500 list.

Explore further: Intel, SGI test 3M fluids for cooling effects

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

ORNL Jaguar supercomputer surpasses 50 teraflops

Aug 25, 2006

An upgrade to the Cray XT3 supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the most powerful supercomputer available for general scientific research in the United States, has increased the system's computing ...

Jaguar upgrade brings ORNL closer to petascale computing

May 15, 2008

Upgrades to Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Jaguar supercomputer have more than doubled its performance, increasing the system’s ability to deliver far-reaching advances in climate studies, energy research, and a wide ...

Oak Ridge 'Jaguar' supercomputer is World's fastest

Nov 16, 2009

An upgrade to a Cray XT5 high-performance computing system deployed by the Department of Energy has made the "Jaguar" supercomputer the world's fastest. Located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Jaguar is ...

Recommended for you

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

8 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Buyck
3 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2010
The way to 10Pflops and 20Pflops systems or even more is very close!

links:
http://www.ncsa.i...eWaters/
http://www-03.ibm...6599.wss
http://www.fujits...-01.html

More news stories

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Chronic inflammation linked to 'high-grade' prostate cancer

Men who show signs of chronic inflammation in non-cancerous prostate tissue may have nearly twice the risk of actually having prostate cancer than those with no inflammation, according to results of a new study led by researchers ...