ORNL to partner with IBM on next big supercomputer: ‘Summit’

Oak Ridge National Laboratory will join with IBM in development of a next-generation hybrid supercomputer that will called “Summit.” The new supercomputer will also draw upon NVIDIA’s Volta GPU technologies and Mellanox’s Interconnected capabilties, DOE announced in a press release.

ORNL’s new machine, which will be delivered in 2017, is supposed to be five times more powerful than Titan — the Cray XK7 machine that once was the World’s No. 1 and remains American’s top supercomputer for science. Titan is capable of about 20 millon billion calculations per second or 20 petaflops.

Lawrence Livermore’s new machine will be called “Sierra,” and it, too, will be developed by IBM, NVIDIA and Mellanox. Sierra is expected to be seven times more powerful than Livermore’s current top machine, Sequoia.

A press conference is being held in Washington, D.C. to announce the Department of Energy’s plans for new supercomputers at ORNL and Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California. KNS Washington correspondent Michael Collins is covering the event and will be posting a story at Knoxnews.com.

The CORAL (Collaboration of Oak Ridge, Argonne and Livermore) project began in 2014, with the three lab working together to develop a path for building the best supercomputing possible as the next step toward exascale computing.

New machines were announced today for Oak Ridge and Livermore, and DOE said Argonne would announce its new machine at a later date.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., issued a statement saying the future supercomputer at ORNL will support advanced materials research and other scientific challenges to improve economic and national security.

“Once again the world’s fastest computer will be in the United States, and once again it will be at Oak Ridge,” Alexander said in a statement. “Supercomputing has helped Tennessee become a center for advanced manufacturing with the arrival of new companies, including several in the auto industry, creating thousands of good-paying jobs. Tennessee can continue to thrive and create many more good jobs with the use of this new supercomputer.”

Today’s announcement also noted that DOE will inveset $100 million in another project to “develop extreme scale sumpercomputer technologies” as part of a research effort called FastForward 2.

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.