Washington: Reports indicate that an upgrade to a Cray XT5 high-performance computing system deployed by the US Department of Energy has made the “Jaguar” supercomputer the world’s fastest.
Located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Jaguar is the scientific research community’s most powerful computational tool for exploring solutions to some of today’s most difficult problems.
The upgrade, funded with 19.9 million dollars under the Recovery Act, will enable scientific simulations for exploring solutions to climate change and the development of new energy technologies.
To net the number-one spot on the TOP500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers, Jaguar’s Cray XT5 component was upgraded this fall from four-core to six-core processors and ran a benchmark program called High-Performance Linpack (HPL) at a speed of 1.759 petaflop/s (quadrillion floating point operations, or calculations, per second).
Jaguar began service in 2005 with a peak speed of 26-teraflop/s (trillion calculations per second) and through a series of upgrades in the ensuing years gained 100 times the computational performance.
The upgrade of Jaguar XT5 to 37,376 six-core AMD Istanbul processors in 2009 increased performance 70 percent over that of its quad-core predecessor.
Researchers anticipate that this unprecedented growth in computing capacity may help facilitate improved climate predictions, fuel-efficient engine designs, better understandings of the origin of the universe and underpinnings of health and disease, and creation of advanced materials for energy production, transmission, and storage.
Simulations on Jaguar have primarily focused on energy technologies and climate change resulting from global energy use.
Scientists have explored the causes and impacts of climate change, the enzymatic breakdown of cellulose to improve biofuels production, coal gasification processes to help industry design near-zero-emission plants, fuel combustion to aid development of engines that are clean and efficient, and radio waves that heat and control fuel in a fusion reactor.
“The early petascale results indicate that Jaguar will continue to accelerate the Department of Energy’s mission of breakthrough science,” said Jeff Nichols, ORNL’s associate laboratory director for computing and computational sciences.
“With increased computational capability, the scientific research community is able to obtain results faster, understand better the complexities involved, and provide critical information to policy-makers,” he added.
Equipped with unprecedented computer power, materials scientists can simulate superconducting materials and magnetic nanoparticles with greater realism.
Climate scientists can improve accuracy, resolution, and complexity of Earth system models, and physicists can simulate quarks and explore masses, decays, and other properties of the fundamental constituents of matter.
First Published: Saturday, November 21, 2009, 12:15