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United States Regains Lead with World's Fastest Supercomputer

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Location: Washington, DC

Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that a supercomputer called Sequoia at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, California, received the rank of the world's most powerful computing system. The Top500 list, which annually ranks the world's fastest supercomputers, released its list at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC12) in Hamburg, Germany on Monday, June 18.

Supercomputers at four other Department of Energy national laboratories ranked in the top 20: Mira at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Illinois, ranked third; Jaguar at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, ranked sixth; Cielo, jointly operated by Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, ranked fifteenth; and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center's (NERSC) Hopper system at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, ranked sixteenth.

"Today's announcement puts the United States firmly on the forefront of developing computing systems that will advance the world in many far-reaching ways, while driving high-quality jobs and economic prosperity here at home," said Secretary Chu. "I congratulate the national laboratories in their rankings of the world's fastest supercomputers and for paving the way for the technologies of the future."

Supercomputers in the United States enable scientists at national laboratories, universities and industry to tackle a wide range of scientific challenges, including studying protein folding to improve disease treatment and prevention; modeling climate change to improve the accuracy of scientific predictions; and developing future energy sources and simulating combustion chemistry to design cleaner, more efficient energy systems.

The nation that leads the world in high-performance computing will have an enormous competitive advantage across a broad range of sectors, including national defense, medicine, energy, environment, finance, manufacturing and product development. This marks the United States' return to the top spot after a gap of two and a half years.

Sequoia, first place: Clocking in at 16.32 sustained petaflops (quadrillion floating point operations per second), the number one ranking Sequoia was built for NNSA by IBM. With its 96-rack IBM Blue Gene/Q system, Sequoia will enable simulations that explore phenomena at a level of detail never before possible. Sequoia is dedicated to NNSA's Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program for stewardship of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, a joint effort from LLNL, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

Mira, third place: Mira, the petascale IBM Blue Gene/Q system installed at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility at Argonne National Laboratory, is a 10-petaflops machine capable of carrying out 10 quadrillion calculations per second. The ALCF is committed to delivering 768 million core hours on Mira in 2013 based on a production schedule starting October 1, 2013--though it is highly likely that Mira will reach production status much sooner.

Jaguar, sixth place: With a peak speed of 3.3 petaflops (over three thousand trillion calculations per second), "Jaguar," a Cray XK6 supercomputer located at Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was the world's fastest supercomputer for unclassified research 2.5 years ago. Capable of simulating physical systems with heretofore unfeasible speed and accuracy--from the explosions of stars to the building blocks of matter--Jaguar has led OLCF and the world into the era of petascale computing and beyond. It is currently being upgraded into Titan, a machine with an expected peak performance of 20 petaflops.

Cielo, fifteenth place: With a peak speed of 1.37 petaflops, Cielo is used by scientists at three national laboratories: Los Alamos (LANL), Sandia (SNL), and Lawrence Livermore (LLNL), to solve our nation's most demanding stockpile stewardship problems; that is, the large-scale application problems at the edge of our understanding of weapon physics. This fully functional, petascale system serves a diverse scientific and engineering workload. Cielo provides a robust code development and production environment scaled to meet or exceed the workload requirements.

NERSC Hopper system, sixteenth place: With a peak performance of 1.28 Petaflops per second, the Hopper system is used by thousands of scientists at national laboratories and universities to research a wide range of problems in combustion, climate modeling, fusion energy, materials science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and other disciplines. Located at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NERSC is the primary high-performance computing facility for scientific research sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.


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