Category Archives: Supercomputing

ORNL part of administration’s beat-cancer program

supercomputingpicOak Ridge National Laboratory is part of the Obama administration’s sweeping program to defeat cancer, joining with other labs and the National Cancer Institute on pilot projects that use supercomputers to analyze data on how cancer develops and to accelerate development of promising therapies.

The Cancer Moonshot program, led by Vice President Joe Biden, hosted a summit Wednesday in Washington, D.C., to draw attention to projects around the country that involve hundreds of researchers, oncologists and technologies of many types. Continue reading

China’s new supercomputer takes world lead; Titan drops to No. 3 on TOP500

summitpicChina has retained the top spot on the TOP500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers with a newly developed system built entirely with Chinese-made processors, according to Monday’s announcement at the biannual International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt, Germany.

The new system — dubbed Sunway TaihuLight — is reportedly capable of 93 million billion calculations per second or 93 petaflops. China’s Tianha-2, which previously was ranked No. 1, dropped to the second slot, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Titan supercomputer, a Cray XK7 system, is third on the newly released list.

ORNL is currently working with IBM on a next-generation supercomputer that will be called Summit (conceptual image, insert) and reportedly capable of 150 to 300 petaflops. It is scheduled to be delivered next year and achieve full operations in 2018. Continue reading

Metis — a little bit of Titan

Buddy Bland, project director Summit Supercomputer Wednesday, April 20, 2016.  (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)Buddy Bland, director of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, explains Metis to me during a visit to ORNL earlier this spring. Metis is a two-cabinet Cray XK7 system that’s used by lab researchers to develop codes for Titan — a 200-cabinet version that is the nation’s fastest computer. Metis was placed in what’s called CADES (Compute and Data Environment for Science), which provides support capabilities for scientists using the stable of supercomputers for research projects. Something similar to Metis will reportedly be delivered to Oak Ridge in advance of Summit, an IBM supercomputer that’s under development and expected to be the next big thing, with capabilities in the range of 150 to 300 petaflops. (KNS photo/Michael Patrick)

GE uses ORNL’s Titan to study combustion

combustionA simulation of combustion within two adjacent gas turbine combustors. (ORNL image)

General Electric has used Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Titan supercomputer — a Cray XK7 system capable of more than 20 million billion calculations per second — to simulate combustion and increase the efficiency of GE’s H class natural gas-powered turbines, which are reportedly the most efficient turbines of their kind. Continue reading

ORNL to open office in Chattanooga

2015-P03210 mason casual-001Oak Ridge National Laboratory made it official today, with ORNL Director Thom Mason’s announcing that the lab would open an office in Chattanooga at the EPB headquarters.

In a release, Mason said, “This is the best way for us to build on existing ORNL collaborations in Chattanooga and to identify new opportunities. The work involving EPB (Electric Power Board of Chattanooga), the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory illustrates the power of regional cooperation. We want to accelerate opportunities in developing clean energy technology, manufacturing and computing.” Continue reading

The senator’s view of the Summit

alexandersummitU.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., in a recent news release announcing the Senate’s passage of FY 2017 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, said something he’s fond of saying.

“Once again, the world’s fastest supercomputer will be at Oak Ridge National Laboratory,” Tennessee’s senior senator (and chief architect of the appropriations bill) was quoted as saying.

The Senate bill includes $1.32 billion for advanced computing, and that includes money for “Summit,” a supercomputer currently under development by IBM, NVIDIA and others. Summit will be delivered to ORNL over the next couple of years. Depending on how much funding is available, the contract calls for IBM to provide a supercomputer with a capability somewhere between 150 and 300 petaflops. That means it could be able to do up to 300 million billion calculations per second. Continue reading

ORNL perspective on Summit: ‘I would be shocked if this is not the greenest machine in the world when it debuts’

summitpicWhen the new IBM supercomputer comes online at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the next couple of years, there’s a chance it’ll be world’s fastest computer with a peak capability of somewhere between 150 to 300 million billion calculations per second.

But the supercomputer that’s now under development by IBM, NVIDIA and others could also hold another distinction upon arrival at ORNL.

“I would be shocked if this is not the greenest machine in the world when it debuts,” Buddy Bland, the director of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, said in a recent interview and tour of the new computer room that will house Summit. Continue reading

ORNL’s supercomputing center fends off about a million attacks a day

bigbang2You may remember a 2011 episode of the CBS sitcom “Big Bang Theory” where theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper hacks into a Cray supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for — of all reasons — help in figuring out a card trick. Well that didn’t really happen, of course, but the Oak Ridge lab really does get a lot of attacks on its stable of supercomputers — including Titan, a Cray XK7 system that currently rules the roost of science machines.

According to Buddy Bland, director of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, the number of attacks is about a million a day. Continue reading

Computer tour at ORNL

Buddy Bland, project director Summit Supercomputer Wednesday, April 20, 2016.  (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)Buddy Bland, director of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, explains some of the preparations and upgrades for installation of a new supercomputer (an IBM machine called Summit) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. That’s me in the center and ORNL media relations director Morgan McCorkle on the right. (KNS photo/Michael Patrick)

Titan taking giant steps while ORNL preps for next great supercomputer

IMG_5695Buddy Bland, director of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, pauses amid the cabinets of Titan, the Cray XK7 supercomputer that’s capable of 20 million billion calculations per second. (KNS/Frank Munger photo) Photograph below shows Bland opening a Titan cabinet. (KNS/Michael Patrick photo)

The whir of the computer room, discernible even with ear protection in place, is the background music for success at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

bland2ORNL, a global leader in scientific computing for decades, appears to be secure in that role, for now and the future.

Titan, a Cray XK7 supercomputer, is currently ranked No. 2 on the TOP500 list of the world’s fastest computers, second only to China’s Tianhe-2. More important than Titan’s sheer speed — about 20 million billion calculations per second — is its scientific production.

ORNL Director Thom Mason said it’s the best science machine on the planet, bar none, optimized for researchers to tackle science’s great challenges. Continue reading

ORNL to support 4 computing-for-manufacturing projects

The U.S. Department of Energy last week announced 10 projects with industry as part fo the agency’s High Performance Computing for Manufacturing Program, and ORNL will be involved in four of them — each of which will get $300,000 in initial funding.supercomputingpic

ORNL has perhaps the nation’s top stable of supercomputer, including the Cray supercomputer known as Titan, which currently is the fastest computer in the U.S. and a workhorse for science. Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Labs, both fo which have great resources and expertise, also will support the industry efforts.

Here is the description provided of the four projects that ORNL will support: Continue reading

ORNL’s Mason talks about the FY 2017 budget request

mason-thumb-300x313-13696.jpgA big emphasis in Department of Energy’s proposed FY 2017 budget is the so-called Mission Innovation, which is an agreement between the United States and 19 other countries to double research on clean energy over the next five years.

If this multibillion-dollar initiative moves forward — and meets with the approval of Congress — Oak Ridge National Laboratory could be a beneficiary of added funding for research programs that are already an Oak Ridge strength.

ORNL Director Thom Mason expressed enthusiasm for the programs but also noted there is obvious uncertainty about whether an administration priority will become a priority with Congress and survive some budget constraints already in place.

“This starts the process and what wins out could be different,” Mason said. Continue reading