HPC NEWS

Cray awarded contract from the NNSA

11 July 2014



Cray has been awarded one of the largest contracts in the company's history – a $174 million deal to provide the US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) with a next generation Cray XC supercomputer and a Cray Sonexion storage system.

 As reported last week, Government procurmenet contracts for large HPC systems 'can push technological development in the direction it desires by means of its procurement policy.'

Cray will provide the NNSA with a multi-petaflop supercomputing system and a multi-petabyte Cray Sonexion storage system. The Trinity system will be a based on the Cray XC30 supercomputer, and will include ‘Haswell’ Intel Xeon processors and Intel Xeon Phi processors.

Trinity will be located at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Cray Sonexion storage solution at NNSA will include 82 petabytes of capacity and 1.7 Tbps of sustained performance. Cray XC30 and Cray XC30-AC supercomputers include: the Aries system interconnect; a Dragonfly network topology; and the next-generation of the scalable, high performance Cray Linux Environment.

‘Both Los Alamos and Sandia have a long history with Cray, going back to the beginning of the supercomputing era and most recently with the Cielo platform,’ said Gary Grider, High Performance Computing Division Leader at Los Alamos. ‘That history continues with the Trinity platform that will provide next generation supercomputing in support of the U. S. nuclear security enterprise.’

The Cray XC supercomputer will provide the NNSA with a supercomputing system to advance the mission for the agency’s stockpile stewardship programme. The system is a joint effort between the New Mexico Alliance for Computing at Extreme Scale (ACES) at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories as part of the NNSA Advanced Simulation and Computing Program (ASC). The new Cray supercomputer will be used to ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of the United States’ nuclear stockpile, using advanced simulation to model the way in which the nuclear stockpile is ageing.

Key drivers for Trinity include application performance improvements and larger memory for running more detailed weapons simulations. As part of the procurement, a Center of Excellence for Application Transition will be established to ensure success. A collaboration of the NNSA tri-labs, Cray, and Intel, the Center is essential for ensuring key ASC applications will successfully port to perform on the Trinity architecture.

'Supercomputing is a critical element of the NNSA’s mission to maintain and enhance the safety, security, reliability and performance the US nuclear weapons stockpile, and we are incredibly honored that a Cray supercomputer will play a vital role in this important work,' said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray. 'We have a long history with the Department of Energy, the NNSA and its associated laboratories, and we are pleased that the partnership we have developed over the years will continue with Trinity.'

Scheduled for delivery starting in mid-2015, Trinity will have at least eight times greater applications performance than Cielo, the current NNSA supercomputer sited at Los Alamos. Trinity is the first Advanced Technology (AT) system for the ASC program and will implement the new computing strategy, which requires all AT systems to service NNSA mission workload while preparing the ASC applications for transition onto future advanced architectures. Given the pioneering nature of the new system, it is named after the first nuclear weapon test, the Trinity event in July 1945.

‘We look forward to working with Cray to create a significant increase in supercomputing capability for key NNSA national security applications,’ said Bruce Hendrickson, Sr. Manager of the Extreme-scale Computing group at Sandia National Laboratories. ‘Trinity will target the largest and most demanding simulations for NNSA.’

The Trinity system will support all three of the NNSA national laboratories, which include Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The NNSA’s current supercomputer sited at Los Alamos is a Cray XE6 system named ‘Cielo.’ The new Trinity system is expected to deliver more than eight times greater applications performance than the Cielo system.

‘NNSA’s selection of the Cray XC supercomputer, powered by future Intel Xeon and Intel Xeon Phi processors, will deliver great application performance for a wide set of codes while the binary compatibility between the processors will allow the NNSA to reuse existing codes,’ said Charles Wuischpard, vice president and general manager of Workstations and HPC at Intel. ‘Intel is excited to build upon our longstanding and successful collaboration with Cray to deliver this vanguard HPC system to the NNSA.’

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