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NERSC Signs Supercomputing Agreement with Cray

June 27, 2012

NERSC Contact: Linda Vu, lvu@lbl.gov, +1 510 495 2402
Cray Media: Nick Davis pr@cray.com +1 206 701 2123

The Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) announced today that Cray will install its next-generation supercomputer computing system. Consisting of products and services, the multi-year, multi-phase project is valued at more than $40 million. It includes delivery of a future-generation Cray supercomputer code-named "Cascade" and a next-generation Cray Sonexion storage system. When completed, the new system will deliver a peak performance of more than two-petaflops per second, equivalent to more than two-quadrillion calculations per second. The full system is expected to go into production in 2013.

Cray's Cascade system will provide an innovative supercomputing resource to NERSC users working to 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. NERSC is also home to a Cray XE6 supercomputer, named "Hopper."

"From energy efficient batteries to climate change, NERSC's 4,500 users are tackling problems that are of vital importance to our nation's competiveness and sustainability, so it is critical that our next system NERSC-7, deliver readily accessible performance on real-world applications," says Kathy Yelick, Associate Laboratory Director of Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab.

According to Yelick, it is also important that NERSC provide supercomputing resources to users in an energy efficient manner, and she says the new Cray system will enable many pioneering features on this front, including the ability to run year-round using "free-cooling" at the NERSC site.

"This approach utilizes water from cooling towers only, not mechanical chillers, to provide exceptional energy efficiency. The moderate Bay Area climate combined with Cray's new design will allow us to keep power for cooling to less than 10 percent of the power used for computing," said Jeff Broughton, head of NERSC's System's Department.

"The researchers and scientists at NERSC are tackling an amazing set of important challenges across a wide range of scientific disciplines, and we are incredibly honored to provide their vast user community with a productive environment that also delivers high sustained performance," said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray. "Our development team has been busy working on our future products and we are very excited to see that the new innovations in our next generation of supercomputers and storage solutions are meeting the needs of leading customers such as NERSC. They are a great partner and we are excited that our relationship with them will continue."

Cray's next-generation Cascade supercomputer, which is expected to be widely available in the first half of 2013, is the next step in Cray's Adaptive Supercomputing vision. The system will feature major advancements of the Cray Linux Environment, Cray's HPC-optimized programming environment, and the next-generation Aries interconnect chipset. Cascade will also feature support for Intel® Xeon® processors - a first for Cray's high-end systems. The Cascade supercomputer is in part made possible by Cray's participation in the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's (DARPA) High Productivity Computing Systems program.

The Cray Sonexion storage system delivered to NERSC will scale to more than six petabytes of usable storage and more 140 gigabytes per second of sustained aggregate IO performance. Sonexion brings together an integrated file system, software and storage offering that has been designed specifically for a wide range of HPC workloads, providing users with an integrated, scalable Lustre solution that is easy to install and maintain. Cray's Sonexion storage system combines powerful servers, the latest Lustre parallel file system and efficient management software into a modular and scalable storage product that is tested at scale, and supported as a complete solution by Cray.

Read the Cray announcement.

About Cray Inc.
As a global leader in supercomputing, Cray provides highly advanced supercomputers and world-class services and support to government, industry and academia. Cray technology is designed to enable scientists and engineers to achieve remarkable breakthroughs by accelerating performance, improving efficiency and extending the capabilities of their most demanding applications. Cray's Adaptive Supercomputing vision is focused on delivering innovative next-generation products that integrate diverse processing technologies into a unified architecture, allowing customers to surpass today's limitations and meeting the market's continued demand for realized performance. Go to www.cray.com for more information.

About Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab

High performance computing plays a critical role in scientific discovery. Researchers increasingly rely on advances in computer science, mathematics, computational science, data science, and large-scale computing and networking to increase our understanding of ourselves, our planet, and our universe. Berkeley Lab’s Computing Sciences Area researches, develops, and deploys new foundations, tools, and technologies to meet these needs and to advance research across a broad range of scientific disciplines.