NNSA Supercomputers Continue to Lead the World

Press Release
Nov 17, 2009
Three of top 10 systems on prestigious list housed at NNSA national laboratories

WASHINGTON, D.C. –The National Nuclear Security Administration congratulates its national laboratories and Advanced Simulation and Computing program for earning three of the top 10 spots, and four of the top fifteen, on the latest TOP500 supercomputer list, which was released today.

The three computers in the top 10 were Roadrunner (#2, Los Alamos National Laboratory); BlueGene/L (#7, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory); and Red Sky (#10, Sandia National Laboratories/National Renewable Energy Laboratory). In addition, the Dawn platform at Livermore was ranked as the 11th fastest in the world.

A total of eight supercomputers housed at NNSA national labs made the TOP500 list.

"The work done on these complex machines enables us to maintain the safety, security and effectiveness of our nuclear stockpile without nuclear testing," said NNSA Administrator Thomas D'Agostino. "The supercomputing systems are a critical example of our investment in nuclear security making contributions to broader science and discovery. I am very pleased to see our laboratories and highly skilled personnel recognized for their groundbreaking contributions to the advancement of our national security programs and the field of supercomputing."

NNSA uses its supercomputing capabilities through its Defense Programs Office of Advanced Simulating and Computing (ASC) to ensure the United States nuclear weapons stockpile continues to be safe, secure and reliable without nuclear testing.

As part of NNSA's stockpile stewardship program, ASC computers use models and simulations to understand and predict behaviors associated with aging weapons by, among other things, evaluating various stages of a nuclear explosion. NNSA's national laboratories employ the supercomputers daily to answer some of the nation's most complex scientific and engineering questions.

In addition to their primary nuclear security function, NNSA supercomputers are used for a number of diverse scientific initiatives.

Roadrunner has been used to run science and engineering simulations, including those aiding HIV vaccine design. BlueGene has been used to predict the properties of metals under extreme temperature and pressure conditions.

This was the first time Red Sky made the top ten list. Red Sky is intended to be a capacity machine used to support a large number of small and medium-sized jobs but to be much more scalable, (allowing larger, more complex jobs to be run) than typical commercially provided capacity systems.

NNSA's investment in supercomputing for nuclear security purposes also has translated into advances in the private sector. Last month, President Barack Obama presented the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation's most prestigious honor for innovators in technological achievement, to the Blue Gene series of computers, an IBM product line brought to market through investments by the NNSA and the Department of Energy.

The TOP500 list is compiled by Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim in Germany; Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of NERSC/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

For the complete list see: http://www.top500.org/list/2009/11/100
  
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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation's national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. Visit http://www.nnsa.energy.gov/ for more information.

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