Wednesday, August 05, 2009

NERSC Awards Cray $50 Million Contract

Cray Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAY) today announced that the company has won the contract to install a next-generation supercomputer at the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) located at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The multi-year supercomputing contract includes delivery of a Cray XT5(TM) massively parallel processor supercomputer, which will be upgraded to a future-generation Cray supercomputer. When completed, the new Cray will deliver a peak performance of more than one petaflops (quadrillion mathematical calculations per second).

Like NERSC's current 355-teraflops Cray XT4(TM) system, nicknamed "Franklin," the new supercomputing system will help advance open science research in climate modeling, biology, environmental sciences, combustion, materials science, chemistry, geosciences, fusion energy, astrophysics, nuclear and high-energy physics, and other disciplines, along with scientific visualization of massive data sets. Click here for more information about the scientific work done on Franklin.

"As NERSC is the primary supercomputing center for DOE's Office of Science, making Cray's latest technology available to our users will accelerate innovation across a wide range of scientific disciplines, helping scientists tackle problems of vital importance to our nation's future," said Michael Strayer, Associate Director of DOE's Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.

According to NERSC Director Kathy Yelick, Cray was awarded the contract based on several factors, including performance and energy efficiency on a set of application benchmarks that capture the challenging workload of the 3,000 NERSC users.

"Because we serve such a large and scientifically diverse user community, it's critical that our systems deliver the best performance while running real-world applications -- especially as users scale their codes to run on tens of thousands of processor cores," Yelick said.

The new Cray system will provide many pioneering features, including the ability for users to customize the operating system for their own codes and to schedule jobs and access their data without logging in to the supercomputer. Yelick adds, "Cray's new cooling system and interconnect network technology mesh well with our research efforts into energy efficient computing and programming models."

"We are proud that NERSC chose Cray as its ongoing partner to provide its diverse and demanding users with advanced scientific computing capabilities," said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray. "Our partnership with NERSC expands beyond our supercomputers to working together to get the most efficient and effective use of the systems as possible -- a partnership that benefits all Cray customers around the globe. We are excited at the scientific achievements that NERSC's users have made on the Cray XT4 'Franklin' system, and we are looking forward to the advancements that will be made on both our Cray XT5 system as well as our future systems that are part of this contract."

Consisting of products and services, the multi-year contract is valued at over $50 million. The full system is expected to go into production in late 2010.

So, it's public. NERSC's love affair with Cray has been renewed. More than a petaflop! Woo! I have lots of details I can't share. Sorry.

We have another HPC machine that'll hit the floor relatively soon, too. Mums the word until then.

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