National Center for Computational Sciences
The National Center for Computational Sciences (NCCS) provides the most powerful computing resources in the world for open scientific research. It is one of the world’s premier science facilities—an unparallel research environment that supports dramatic advances in understanding how the physical world works and using that knowledge to address our most pressing national and international concerns. The NCCS was founded in 1992 to advance the state of the art in high-performance computing by putting new generations of powerful parallel supercomputers into the hands of the scientists who can use them the most productively.
NCCS has all the ingredients necessary to enable revolutionary science: an exciting research program led by top scientists, a talented staff, leading-edge technology, fruitful partnerships with other research institutions and industry, and state-of-the-art computing facilities and infrastructure.
NCCS houses the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) which was established in 2004 with the mission of standing up a supercomputer 100 times more powerful than the leading systems of the day. It is a managed activity of the Advanced Scientific Computing Research program of the Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC) and is located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The facility delivered on that promise four years later, in 2008, when its Cray XT Jaguar system ran the first scientific applications to exceed 1,000 trillion calculations a second (1 petaflop). The OLCF continues to expand the limits of computing power, and as of June 2010 Jaguar was the world’s most powerful supercomputer, with 224,000-plus processing cores delivering a peak performance of more than 2.3 petaflops. As a result, the OLCF gives the world’s most advanced computational researchers an opportunity to tackle problems that would be unthinkable on other systems. The facility welcomes investigators from universities, government agencies, and industry who are prepared to perform breakthrough research in climate, materials, alternative energy sources and energy storage, chemistry, nuclear physics, astrophysics, quantum mechanics, and the gamut of scientific inquiry. Because it is a unique resource, the OLCF focuses on the most ambitious research projects—projects that provide important new knowledge or enable important new technologies. Looking to the future, the facility is moving forward with a roadmap to deliver an exascale supercomputer—one able to deliver 1 million trillion calculations each second.
NCCS also houses the National Climate-Computing Research Center (NCRC) which is home to the Gaea supercomputer used by the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) and its research partners to perform climate simulations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). As part of a collaborative Work for Others Agreement, the supercomputer is owed by DOE and operated by ORNL’s managing contractor, UT-Battelle, on behalf of the NOAA customer.
Gaea occupies the same half-acre computer room as Jaguar and Kraken, a Cray XT5 system run by the University of Tennessee and ORNL and funded by the National Science Foundation.
Cray will deliver the Gaea HPC system through a series of upgrades that will culminate in a petascale system by the end of 2011.
In June 2010, installation concluded for a 260-teraflop (trillion calculations per second) Cray XT6 system with 2,576 AMD “Magny-Cours” 12-core, 2.1 GHz processors.
In June 2011, a 720-teraflop Cray XE6 system will be added to Gaea. It will employ the next-generation AMD Interlagos 16-core processor. After the installation of that second system, the original 260-teraflop system will be upgraded with the same AMD Interlagos processor to achieve 386 teraflops.
The aggregate Gaea system will have a total memory size of 248 terabytes and a peak calculating capability of 1.1 petaflops (quadrillion floating point operations per second), bringing the number of petascale systems at ORNL, the world’s most powerful computing complex, to three.
For more information about NCCS, please visit http://nccs.gov.