A-Z Index | Phone Book | Careers

National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) Awards Supercomputer Contract to Cray

Next-Generation Supercomputer at Department of Energy's Berkeley Lab Will Help Advance Open Scientific Research

August 5, 2009

Contact: Linda Vu, CSnews@lbl.gov


"As NERSC is the primary supercomputing center for DOE's Office of Science, making Cray's latest technology available to our users will accelerate innovation across a wide range of scientific disciplines, helping scientists tackle problems of vital importance to our nation's future."

— Michael Strayer, Associate Director of DOE's Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research


BERKELEY, CA - The Department of Energy's (DOE) National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announced today that a contract for its next generation supercomputing system will be awarded to Cray Inc. The multi-year supercomputing contract includes delivery of a Cray XT5™ massively parallel processor supercomputer, which will be upgraded to a future-generation Cray supercomputer. When completed, the new system will deliver a peak performance of more than one petaflops, equivalent to more than one quadrillion calculations per second.

Like NERSC's current 355-teraflops Cray XT4™ system, named "Franklin," the new supercomputing system will help advance open science research in climate modeling, biology, environmental sciences, combustion, materials science, chemistry, geosciences, fusion energy, astrophysics, nuclear and high-energy physics, and other disciplines, along with scientific visualization of massive data sets. Click here for more information about the scientific work done on Franklin.

“As NERSC is the primary supercomputing center for DOE's Office of Science, making Cray's latest technology available to our users will accelerate innovation across a wide range of scientific disciplines, helping scientists tackle problems of vital importance to our nation's future,” said Michael Strayer, Associate Director of DOE's Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.

According to NERSC Director Kathy Yelick, Cray was awarded the contract based on several factors, including performance and energy efficiency on a set of application benchmarks that capture the challenging workload of the 3,000 NERSC users.

“Because we serve such a large and scientifically diverse user community, it’s critical that our systems deliver the best performance while running real-world applications—especially as users scale their codes to run on tens of thousands of processor cores,” Yelick said.

The new Cray system will provide many pioneering features, including the ability for users to customize the operating system for their own codes and to schedule jobs and access their data without logging in to the supercomputer.  Yelick adds, “Cray's new cooling system and interconnect network technology mesh well with our research efforts into energy efficient computing and programming models.”

“We are proud that NERSC chose Cray as its ongoing partner to provide its diverse and demanding users with advanced scientific computing capabilities,” said Cray President and CEO Peter Ungaro. “Our partnership with NERSC expands beyond our supercomputers to working together to get the most efficient and effective use of the systems as possible — a partnership that benefits all Cray customers around the globe. We are excited at the scientific achievements that NERSC’s users have made on the Cray XT4 'Franklin' system, and we are looking forward to the advancements that will be made on both our Cray XT5 system as well as our future systems that are part of this contract.”

Consisting of products and services, the multi-year contract is valued at over $50 million. The full system is expected to go into production in late 2010.


About Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) Computing Sciences organization provides the computing and networking resources and expertise critical to advancing the Department of Energy's research missions: developing new energy sources, improving energy efficiency, developing new materials and increasing our understanding of ourselves, our world and our universe.

ESnet, the Energy Sciences Network, provides the high-bandwidth, reliable connections that link scientists at 40 DOE research sites to each other and to experimental facilities and supercomputing centers around the country. The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) powers the discoveries of 6,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities, including those at Berkeley Lab's Computational Research Division (CRD). CRD conducts research and development in mathematical modeling and simulation, algorithm design, data storage, management and analysis, computer system architecture and high-performance software implementation. NERSC and ESnet are DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world's most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab's scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the DOE’s Office of Science.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.