The Oak Ridger: Alexander: World’s fastest supercomputer will again be at ORNL

Posted on November 14, 2014

Oak Ridge National Laboratory will have the world’s fastest next-generation supercomputer, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander announced at a Friday morning press conference with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, said the new computer will provide five times the performance of Titan, the current system, and support advanced scientific and materials research to improve economic and national security.

The “next-generation hybrid supercomputer” will be called Summit, and it will be delivered in 2017, the senator said.

“Once again the world’s fastest computer will be in the United States, and once again it will be at Oak Ridge,” Alexander said. “Supercomputing has helped Tennessee become a center for advanced manufacturing with the arrival of new companies, including several in the auto industry, creating thousands of good-paying jobs. Tennessee can continue to thrive and create many more good jobs with the use of this new supercomputer.”

The Friday announcement was the result of a partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and IBM. Summit will be a hybrid computing system using central processing units (CPUs) and graphic processing units (GPUs).

“Today is another great day for Oak Ridge,” said U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann, a Tennessee Republican whose district includes Oak Ridge. “With Secretary Moniz’s announcement (that) the next-generation exascale computing will be coming to East Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory is once again in position to lead the world in supercomputing. High-performance computing is the foundation for virtually all science and advances our business position in the world, helping create the family wage jobs we need. I will work with my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to ensure this new computing system is fully supported.”

Titan, a hybrid Cray XK7 capable of 27 petaflops, was recognized as the world’s fastest supercomputer in November 2012. But it was bumped to the number two spot by a Chinese supercomputer in June 2013.

ORNL said researchers will use Summit in diverse scientific arenas:

  • Combustion science: Creating a fundamental understanding of combustion to increase efficiency by 25-50 percent and lower emissions from internal combustion engines using advanced fuels and new, low-temperature combustion concepts.
  • Climate change science: Understanding the dynamic ecological and chemical evolution of the climate system with uncertainty quantification of impacts on regional and decadal scales.
  • Energy storage: Gaining a fundamental understanding of chemical reaction processes at the atomic and molecular level required for predictive design of new materials for energy storage and predictive engineering of safe, large-format, durable, rechargeable batteries.
  • Nuclear power: Enabling reactor-scale simulations to allow safe, increased nuclear fuel burn times, power upgrades, and reactor lifetime extensions, and in doing so reduce the volume of spent fuel.

DOE said Friday’s announcement marked another step toward President Barack Obama’s and Moniz’s commitment to promote American leadership in science, technology, and innovation. The announcement was made at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Besides Moniz and the two Tennessee legislators, it also included representatives Dan Lipinski and Bill Foster.

They believe that this major investment “will keep the United States on the cutting edge of scientific advancement.”

“Supercomputing is essential to U.S. competitiveness in science and technology, and I’m proud our national lab in Tennessee is helping advance scientific research to improve America’s economic and national security,” Alexander said.

Supercomputing supports a wide range of scientific research and development and addresses the most challenging science problems for government, academia, and industry. This new advanced supercomputer is expected to create a better understanding of materials research, energy storage, and nuclear power.

A press release from Alexander’s office said the senator has consistently supported efforts to strengthen the United States’ supercomputing capabilities, including cosponsoring the authorization of the first leadership class facility at Oak Ridge for high-end supercomputing. Alexander is the lead sponsor of legislation that would authorize funding for these computers through 2016. Alexander also visited Japan in 2004 to view their supercomputers and learn more about the technology.

Here is more specific information about Summit submitted by ORNL:

The system’s vendor, IBM, and major component suppliers, NVIDIA and Mellanox, are all participating in an open architecture technology collaboration known as the OpenPOWER Foundation.

“Summit builds on the hybrid multi-core architecture that the OLCF successfully pioneered with Titan,” says Buddy Bland, the director of the Summit project at the OLCF. “The large, powerful nodes allow applications to achieve very high performance without having to scale to hundreds of thousands of message passing interface (MPI) tasks. The combination of very large memory per node and the powerful IBM POWER and NVIDIA processors provides an ideal platform for data analysis as well as computation.”

Summit will feature more than 3,400 nodes, each with:

  • Multiple IBM POWER9 processors and multiple NVIDIA Volta GPUs
  • CPUs and GPUs completely connected with high speed NVLink
  • Large coherent memory: more than 512 GB of combined DDR4 and high bandwidth memory—all directly addressable from the CPUs and GPUs
  • An additional 800 GB of NVRAM, which can be configured as either a burst buffer or as extended memory
    over 40 TF peak performance

Summit will have a dual-rail Mellanox EDR interconnect configured as a full, non-blocking fat-tree. The file system will be a GPFS Storage Server system with 1TB/s I/O bandwidth and 120 PB of disk capacity.

System software will include: IBM XL, NVIDIA, and PGI environments supporting OpenMP and OpenACC programming, IBM HPC software including Linux, Platform Computing LSF scheduler, resource manager, system management, and GPFS parallel file system.

“High-performance computing has become a key part of technology advancement and scientific discovery,” says Jim Hack, director of the National Center for Computational Sciences at ORNL. “The OLCF is being used to solve some of the most demanding and important science problems in the world. Summit will allow us to continue in this mission through the end of the decade.

About the OLCF

The OLCF is a DOE Office of Science User Facility and was established at ORNL in 2004 with the mission of accelerating scientific discovery and engineering progress by providing outstanding computing and data management resources to high-priority research and development projects. Along the way it has delivered two-world leading systems. The first, a Cray XT known as Jaguar, ran the first scientific applications to exceed 1,000 trillion calculations per second (one petaflop) and ranked as the world’s fastest computer in November 2009 and June 2010 on the Top500 list. The OLCF continued to expand the limits of computing power, unveiling Titan in 2013, a hybrid Cray XK7 capable of 27 petaflops. Titan was recognized as the world’s fastest in November 2012.