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Oak Ridge National Laboratory installs new Cray supercomputer
[December 26, 2008]

Oak Ridge National Laboratory installs new Cray supercomputer

(Knoxville News-Sentinel, The (TN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dec. 26--OAK RIDGE -- Installation of another Cray XT5 supercomputer was completed in mid-December, further bolstering Oak Ridge National Laboratory's claim as a world-leading center for scientific computing.

The new system -- nicknamed Kraken, after a mythical sea monster -- should be ready for research in early 2009, according to lab officials.

"It is assembled and powered on, but not available to users," Buddy Bland, a project leader at ORNL, said recently.

In its initial phase, Kraken will have a peak capability of more than 600 teraflops (600 trillion calculations per second). It will be upgraded about a year from now to achieve a peak of about 1 petaflops (or 1,000 trillion calculations per second).

Kraken is housed at ORNL as a result of a $65 million grant won by a University of Tennessee-led team (that included ORNL) in a competition sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

The new supercomputer was installed adjacent to an even bigger Cray XT5 system, known as Jaguar, which is currently the second-fastest computer in the world and the fastest for scientific uses.

Jaguar has a peak computing capability of 1.6 quadrillion calculations per second and -- after going through final acceptance testing in late December -- should be available for a demanding research load in 2009. The Oak Ridge supercomputer is the Department of Energy's workhorse for its INCITE (Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment) research program.

DOE recently allocated 470 million processor hours on Jaguar for high-priority science projects in 2009, including unprecedented models of global climate change. The workload is more than half of the computer time allocated for the entire DOE program.

Thomas Zacharia, ORNL's scientific computing chief, is also the University of Tennessee's vice president for science and technology. He headed the proposal teams that were responsible for building the high-performance supercomputers to the lab's National Center for Computational Sciences.

In an interview earlier this year, Zacharia talked about plans for having two petascale computers available at the lab. Jaguar should be the world's best computer for open scientific users, and Kraken should be the top machine dedicated to academic users, he said.

The two Cray supercomputers could be hooked together and operated as one if there are special projects that require their combined computing power, Zacharia said.

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