November 15, 2011
From the infinitesimal to the galactic: Mira gives scientists a new window to the world
ARGONNE, Ill., Nov. 15 -- The use of supercomputers to propel innovation in science and engineering is an endeavor punctuated by major transformative technologies-the latest being the new open science petascale supercomputers coming online within the U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory complex. These machines will push scientific discovery to a new realm.
Argonne National Laboratory's IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer, Mira, is an engineering marvel whose unique architecture and capabilities will be thoroughly explored as soon as it goes online in 2012. Supported by the Department's Office of Science, it will rank among the world's fastest and most energy-efficient supercomputers and represents a milestone in the effort to develop exascale systems equipped with hundreds of millions of processors within the decade.
Access to Mira and the other DOE leadership facilities-awarded in multi-million-hour allocations through the Office of Science-supported INCITE program-is sought after by scientists worldwide to carry out highly complex simulations. Mira, a 10-petaflops supercomputer, will be 20 times faster than Argonne's current leadership-class supercomputer.
To ensure that science applications will be prepared to run as soon as Mira is commissioned, Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) staff is working with 16 research teams from across the nation to port and tune their codes on Blue Gene/Q prototype hardware. These Early Science Program projects cover a range of scientific fields representative of Mira's projected computational workload, including simulations of advanced materials, exploration of the universe, modeling of biological organisms, and the design of new, safe, and reliable sources of energy.
"The visionary research goals of the computational scientists and engineers who gain access to Mira-coupled with the expertise to take advantage of its architecture and capabilities-will enable us to fulfill our mission: to accelerate major scientific discoveries and engineering breakthroughs for humanity by designing and providing world-leading computing facilities in partnership with the computational science community," said Paul Messina, director of science at the ALCF.
The Blue Gene program is a long-term collaborative effort of IBM Corporation, Argonne, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Blue Gene's speed and expandability have enabled industry and the scientific community to address a wide range of complex problems and make more informed decisions.
Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.
Source: Argonne National Laboratory
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