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PNNL helping to design tomorrow's exascale supercomputers

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June 21, 2017 Share This!

  • Researcher Mahantesh Halappanavar and his colleagues on the Exascale Computing Project are developing methods and techniques to efficiently implement key combinatorial algorithms.

  • Matt Macduff, a researcher in PNNL's High Performance Computing group, examines the inner workings of the Seapearl cluster, used to research computing power consumption as part of PNNL's Center for Advanced Technology Evaluation, known as CENATE.

  • The Seapearl compute cluster, instrumented with hundreds of power and temperature sensors, provides researchers a unique testbed for studying these important parameters with great precision on a large scale.

  • PNNL's Kevin Barker, Matt Macduff and Darren Kerbyson (pictured left to right) are among those using Seapearl and other test beds in their research to evaluate systems being developed in the quest to deliver the next generation of computers — machines so fast and powerful that they can operate at the exascale.

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RICHLAND, Wash. — Supercomputers help design automobiles and aircraft, create new medical drugs and discover the mysteries of the universe. Now, in a column for the Tri-City Herald, the director of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Steve Ashby, introduces a new national collaboration to take supercomputers to the next level of performance.

Under leadership from the Department of Energy, the Exascale Computing Project seeks to deliver a computer by 2021 that can perform one quintillion — or a billion billion — calculations per second. This is like every person in the United States harnessing the collective power of 300 million PCs to solve a single problem. And, it's 10 times faster than the current record holder in China.

The collaboration will redesign and reinvent the hardware, system software and applications that would be used for an exascale computer. PNNL researchers will take the lead on a testbed for an exascale machine by providing a first-of-its-kind computing proving ground, much like test tracks for automobiles. The testbed will include both measurements and simulations to assess performance.

PNNL will also develop applications at the same time these future computing systems are being developed. Such applications will explore computational chemistry and the electric grid.

Read more about PNNL's foray into exascale computing in Ashby's column.

Tags: Computational Science, Supercomputer, Hardware, Software

PNNL LogoInterdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,400 staff and has an annual budget of nearly $1 billion. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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