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U.S. Nuclear Security Unit Dedicates Two IBM Supercomputers

Posted by iNext - 2005-10-29

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) dedicated two IBM supercomputers including the BlueGene/L at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Thursday.

The machines are used to run three-dimensional codes to monitor the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile to ensure that it remains reliable without testing. NNSA administrator Linton Brooks said the BlueGene/L has performed a record 280.6 trillion operations a second using the Linpack benchmark.

The second supercomputer called Purple is based on an IBM Power5 configuration and is machine-capable of 100 teraflops conducting simulations of nuclear weapons performance. BlueGene/L is built on a PowerPC configuration.

“Purple represents the culmination of a successful, decade-long effort to create a powerful new class of supercomputers,” said Brooks in a statement. “BlueGene/L points the way to the future and the computing power we will need to improve our ability to predict the behavior of the stockpile as it continues to age.”

The NNSA said BlueGene/L has run an application at 101.5 teraflops over seven hours on the machine’s 131,072 processors. Looked at from another vantage point the two supercomputers together will place a half a petaflop, or half a quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000) operations a second at the disposal of scientists working at Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia Laboratories.

The two supercomputers, part of a $200 million contract, were delivered on schedule and within budget, according to a prepared statement from Nick Donofrio, IBM’s executive vice president for innovation and technology.

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