Saturday, 24 August, 2019

DOE/NNSA, Lab Announce Partnership with Cray to Develop NNSA's First Exascale Supercomputer

Cray lands $600 million contract from DOE to build El Capitan exascale supercomputer Look at me. Look at me. I'm the El Capitan now: Cray to build US govt's $600m cray-cray exascale nuke app super
Emmett Howard | 16 August, 2019, 15:54

Cray has been awarded a $600 million contract to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration, the US Department of Energy and the NNSA announced Tuesday.

El Capitan will be housed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, California, and perform mission critical research to maintain the US nuclear weapons stockpile.

Part of El Capitan's role will be to allow the U.S.to be more responsive to a nuclear threat, NNSA officials said.

"NNSA is modernizing the nuclear security enterprise to face 21st century threats", said Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, DOE under secretary for nuclear security and NNSA administrator.

More specifically, this will involve running "exploratory 3D simulations at resolutions that are now unobtainable, and ensembles of 3D calculations at resolutions that are hard, time-consuming or even impossible using today's state-of-the art supercomputers", the NNSL said.

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Cray said the supercomputer will have a peak performance of 1.5 exaFLOPS, or 1.5 quintillion calculations per second-that's 1.5 trailed by 17 zeros-and run some applications 50 times faster than Lawrence Livermore's current system.

The National Nuclear Security Administration is upping its computing power with the purchase of new supercomputer it says will help drive the development of artificial intelligence to maintain the USA nuclear stockpile. These two systems are in the United States, and bear in mind other nations are due to switch on exascale systems by the time El Capitan spins up. Exascale computing also will permit faster, more detailed 3D modeling and simulation.

Decisions have not been made about the processor and GPU components El Capitan will use.

Depending on the software running, the exascale super is set crunch numbers roughly 10 ten times faster than the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's IBM-Nvidia Sierra, which for now is the world's second-fastest publicly known supercomputer, and about seven times faster than Oak Ridge National Laboratory's IBM-Nvidia Summit, which holds the number-one slot. "With our new software platform, Cray is delivering a fully featured, extensible software and tools environment that performs like a supercomputer and runs like a cloud". "We couldn't be more excited that Cray's Shasta systems, software and Slingshot interconnect will be the foundation for the first three USA exascale systems".

"As we enter the exascale era, modern applications are creating the need for applying supercomputing capability to a new class of digital transformation problems". A center of excellence will be established shortly in collaboration with Cray to port and optimize existing codes to run on El Capitan with a goal of enabling programmatic work to initiate immediately after the machine is accepted into production.

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