December 19, 2008
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Dec. 18 -- In 2009, Oak Ridge National Laboratory will make nearly 470 million processor hours available on Jaguar, its Cray XT supercomputer, under the Department of Energy's Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment, or INCITE, program.
Thirty-eight separate projects will advance breakthrough research in critical areas such as climate studies, energy assurance, materials, and other areas of fundamental science. All told, the DOE program is allocating 889 million processor hours at national laboratories in Illinois, California and Washington as well as ORNL.
"From understanding the makeup of our universe to protecting the quality of life here on earth, the computational science now possible using DOE's supercomputers touches all of our lives," said DOE Under Secretary for Science Raymond Orbach, who launched INCITE in 2003. "By dedicating time on these supercomputers to carefully selected projects, we are advancing scientific research in ways we could barely envision 10 years ago, improving our national competitiveness."
Since a processor hour is equivalent to one hour on one processing core, a single hour using all of Jaguar's 181,000 processing cores is equivalent to 181,000 processor hours. Located within ORNL's Leadership Computing Facility in the National Center for Computational Sciences, Jaguar is the world's most powerful supercomputer for open scientific research, with a peak performance of 1.64 quadrillion calculations a second, or 1.64 petaflops.
The 2009 INCITE program reflects several recent upgrades to the system. The LCF's allocation in the coming year is more than three times the 145 million processor hours allocated in 2008 and more than six times the 75 million processor hours allocated in 2007.
Researchers will use Jaguar to continue their record of scientific achievement. In the past year, INCITE projects at the LCF have conducted the largest, most detailed simulations ever attempted in a wide range of scientific explorations, including the physics of electron transport in the prototype ITER fusion power reactor, the behavior of carbon dioxide sequestered from power plant emissions and pumped deep underground, the workings of a molecular machine known as the voltage-gated potassium channel, and the evolution of dark matter in our Milky Way galaxy. These achievements pave the way for unprecedented advances in alternative energy technology, climate change mitigation, nanotechnology, and our understanding of the universe.
The 2009 allocations reflect ORNL's leadership role in pushing the boundaries of climate science. Researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, several national laboratories (Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest, Los Alamos, Argonne and Lawrence Livermore), NASA, and Georgia Institute of Technology received 30 million processor hours for a climate-science computational end station, part of which is dedicated to advancing the Community Climate System Model, one of the world's leading models for predicting and analyzing climate change.
"The extremely high quality and increased demand of this year's INCITE awards is testimony to the role of leadership computing in facilitating breakthrough science," said ORNL Director Thom Mason.
A team led by Venkatramani Balaji of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was allocated 24 million processor hours to advance an ambitious climate simulation project known as Coupled High-Resolution Modeling of the Earth System. A team led by Zhengyu Liu of the University of Wisconsin-Madison received 4 million processor hours for a project using CCSM to study abrupt climate change. And a team led by Gilbert Compo of the University of Colorado and NOAA received more than 1 million hours to produce the first-ever dataset of global weather maps for the period 1850-2011.
"It's extremely gratifying to know that we will be working with such a strong collection of scientific partners, particularly in areas of such critical importance to the nation," said NCCS Director James Hack. "The demand for the unique capabilities available through the LCF continues to grow and reflects the rapidly growing complexity of the most computationally demanding of scientific problems."
Energy assurance projects will also play a prominent role. Fusion energy simulations will include teams led by Patrick Diamond of the University of California-San Diego, which received 30 million processor hours, William Nevins of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and C. S. Chang of New York University, which received 20 million processor hours each, and Jeff Candy of General Atomics and Fred Jaeger of ORNL, which received 2 million processor hours each.
Teams led by Jacqueline Chen of Sandia National Laboratories and Madhava Syamlal will help make combustion energy cleaner and more efficient with allocations of 30 million hours and 13 million hours, respectively. And a team led by Jeremy Smith of ORNL will use biological simulations to improve the production of cellulosic ethanol with an allocation of 6 million hours.
General Atomics is not the only industrial partner that will be using Jaguar under the INCITE program. The 2009 roster reflects ORNL's ongoing relationship with partners throughout private industry. A team led by Jihui Yang of General Motors is exploring materials that will be able to convert a vehicle's waste heat into electricity. Cleaner aircraft gas turbine engines will be the focus of a project led by Robert Malecki of Pratt & Whitney. And Moeljo Hong of the Boeing Co. and colleagues are developing advanced tools for aircraft design.
Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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