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Siting Sierra: Lawrence Livermore’s newest and fastest supercomputer is taking shape

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Work is moving fast and furious in the Livermore Computing Complex at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where siting and installation for Sierra, the Lab’s next advanced technology high-performance supercomputer, is kicking into high gear.

Trucks began delivering racks and hardware over the summer for what will eventually be a 125-petaFLOPs peak performance machine, projected to provide four to six times the sustained performance of the Lab’s current workhorse system, Sequoia.

“It’s a major effort,” said Bronis de Supinski, Livermore Computing’s chief technology officer and head of Livermore Lab’s Advanced Technology systems.

“IBM analyzed our benchmark applications, showed us how the system would perform well for them, and how we would be able to achieve similar performance for our real applications,” de Supinski said.

While Lab scientists have positive indications from their early access systems, de Supinski said until Sierra is on the floor and running stockpile stewardship program applications, which could take up to two years, they won’t be certain how powerful the machine will be or how well it will work for them.

As Livermore’s first extreme-scale CPU/GPU system, Sierra has presented challenges to Lab computer scientists in porting codes, identifying what data to make available on GPUs and moving data between the GPUs and CPUs to optimize the machine’s capability.

The LLNL team also is working closely with IBM to install the system at the same time IBM and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are installing the Summit system there.


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Post Author: Tom Siegfried

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