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Oak Ridge Supercomputer Now Worlds Fastest for Open Science

The latest upgrade to the Cray XT Jaguar supercomputer at the Department of Energys (DOEs) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has increased the system's computing power to a peak 1.64 petaflops, or quadrillion mathematical calculations per second.

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The latest upgrade to the Cray XT Jaguar supercomputer at the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has increased the system's computing power to a peak 1.64 “petaflops,” or quadrillion mathematical calculations per second, making Jaguar the world’s first petaflop system dedicated to open research. Scientists have already used the newly upgraded Jaguar to complete an unprecedented superconductivity calculation that achieved a sustained performance of more than 1.3 petaflops.
“Jaguar is one of science’s newest and most formidable tools for advancement in science and engineering,” said Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, DOE’s Under Secretary for Science. “It will enable researchers to simulate physical processes on a scale never seen before, and approach convergence for dynamical processes never thought possible.  High end computation will become the critical third pillar for scientific discovery, along with experiment and theory.”
The upgrade at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Leadership Computing Facility represents a major milestone in a four-year project, begun in 2004 when DOE’s Office of Science launched a sustained effort to upgrade supercomputing capabilities for unclassified research at DOE’s complex of national laboratories.  The project to build a petaflops machine--completed on time, on budget and exceeding the original scope--included partnerships with industry to develop new hardware and computer architectures. 
“With the expansion of the leadership computing resources at Oak Ridge, the Department of Energy is continuing to deliver state-of-the-art computational platforms for open, high-impact scientific research," said Michael Strayer, Associate Director of the DOE Office of Science for Advanced Scientific Computing Research. "The new petaflops machine will make it possible to address some of the most challenging scientific problems in areas such as climate modeling, renewable energy, materials science, fusion and combustion."
Within hours of access to the Oak Ridge supercomputer, an ORNL team became the first to achieve sustained petascale performance on a scientific application. In 1998, another ORNL team was the first to achieve sustained terascale performance for science. Thomas Zacharia, Associate Laboratory Director for Computing and Computational Sciences, said he expects that Jaguar "will drive new developments that in turn will lead to energy technology innovations.”
Supercomputing holds significant promise for U.S. economic competitiveness, including the promise of enabling American industry to perform “virtual prototyping” of complex systems and products.  Jaguar will enable companies to reduce development costs and shorten the time required to market new technologies.

Among the most powerful open scientific computing systems in the world, Jaguar is already in high demand by scientists who are honing their codes to take advantage of the machine’s blistering speed. The Jaguar petaflops system is unique in the balance it represents among speed, power, and other elements essential to scientific discovery. Several design choices make it an excellent machine for computational sciences—including more memory than any other machine by almost a factor of three, more powerful processors, more I/O bandwidth and the high-speed SeaStar network developed specifically for very-high-performance computing.

Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory