Computer Breaks Records For Operations Per Second
A supercomputer developed for the nation’s Stockpile Stewardship Program has attained a record breaking performance of 70.72 teraFLOP/s (trillion floating point operations per second) on the industry standard LINPACK benchmark. Though the supercomputer is running at one quarter its final size for the Department of Energy (DOE), the BlueGene/L (BG/L) beta-System is already asserting US leadership in supercomputing.
A product of a multi-year research and development partnership between the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and IBM, BG/L will support the Stockpile Stewardship Program’s mission to ensure the safety, security and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile without underground nuclear testing.
Scientific problems in chemistry, physics, and materials science require an immense processing capability but frequently present relatively modest memory requirements. For NNSA and its Advanced Simulation and Computing program, the BlueGene/L machine is essential for understanding pressing scientific issues including, most prominently, weapons aging.
Additionally, understanding material properties, higher resolution representations of physics in three-dimensions, and achieving a tighter coupling of computational science with experimental science are all issues that the BG/L architecture is uniquely qualified to support through large-scale calculations.
BG/L will reduce the time-to-solution for many computational problems, allowing DOE scientists to explore larger, longer, and more complex problems. For example, a heroic thirty-day calculation on what was the Number 3 supercomputer on the Top 500 list in summer of 2003 would now be completed on this quarter-size BG/L system in about three days.
The final BG/L system will exceed the performance of the Japanese Earth Simulator by a factor of about nine while requiring one-seventh as much electrical power, and one-fourteenth the floor space. These factors are important because they will make it possible for more American university, governmental, and industrial researchers to procure, operate, and use effective supercomputers in the future.
Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is a national security laboratory managed by the University of California for the National Nuclear Security Administration/Department of Energy. For more information on LLNL, visit www.llnl.gov.