NNSA’s Cielo Supercomputer Commences High-Resolution 3-D Weapon Simulations

Press Release
Aug 3, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has announced that it has begun production runs focusing on high resolution 3-D weapon simulations on NNSA’s largest supercomputer platform, Cielo.

The simulations will be used to ensure the safety, security, and effectiveness of the nuclear stockpile while maintaining the moratorium on underground nuclear explosive testing. Users from NNSA’s laboratories – Los Alamos (LANL), Lawrence Livermore and Sandia laboratories – are using Cielo for NNSA’s Capability Computing Campaign 2 (CCC2).

“The body of work done on Cielo is one of the largest and most demanding workloads involving modeling and simulation within NNSA. Cielo is primarily utilized to perform milestone weapons calculations,” said Don Cook, NNSA’s Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs. “The research we’re able to do in computer science, physics, and engineering because of Cielo is a vital part of NNSA’s efforts to implement President Obama’s nuclear security agenda.”

Cielo, a petascale resource for conducting NNSA weapons simulations in the 2011-2015 timeframe, can achieve more than one quadrillion floating point operations per second. During May 2011, the Cielo system was upgraded from 1.03 petaFLOPS (72 cabinets) to 1.37 petaFLOPS (96 cabinets). After the hardware upgrade, the Cielo operating system was also upgraded.

Cielo, located at LANL, provides a production, classified computational resource. It is operated by the New Mexico Alliance for Computing at Extreme Scale (ACES), a collaboration between LANL and Sandia.

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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.