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HP supercomputer to enhance molecular research

PNNL orders system to ‘best serve the science’

September 28, 2007 Share This!

  • The Molecular Science Computing Facility at PNNL is home to a Hewlett-Packard cluster, built in 2003. HP is to deliver a new supercomputer that will advance molecular science in areas such as aerosol formation, bioremediation, catalysis, climate change, hydrogen storage and subsurface science to support DOE’s missions in energy, environment and national security.

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RICHLAND, Wash. – The Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory today announced it has selected HP to deliver a new supercomputer that will advance molecular science in areas such as aerosol formation, bioremediation, catalysis, climate change, hydrogen storage and subsurface science to support DOE’s missions in energy, environment and national security.

With this system, scientists will be able to study more complex scientific problems with larger and more realistic models and get answers faster by scaling computational models to larger numbers of processors.

“High-performance computing is critical to advancing the frontiers of science and fulfilling our mission to the American people,” Jerry Elwood, acting associate director for the Office of Biological and Environmental Research within DOE’s Office of Science said. “We are proud to provide government, academia and industry the capabilities that are needed to solve some of the most challenging environmental molecular science questions of our day.”

The system will be a key capability in the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a DOE national scientific user facility located at PNNL. As such, the new HP supercomputer will be available as a resource to scientists from around the world. It will replace the current HP supercomputer, which was made available to users in 2003.

“We are thrilled to continue our work with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, helping them drive higher levels of productivity and advance their research goals,” said Winston Prather, vice president and general manager of High Performance Computing for HP. “HP brings deep experience and proven HPC technology to deliver the level of reliability and performance needed to meet the aggressive computational requirements of this important research initiative.”

The new supercomputer will support a broad range of cutting-edge research, such as discovering safe and effective materials for producing and storing hydrogen; studying chemical processes in bacteria’s behavior to address bioremediation and energy production issues; and developing computer simulation tools to aid in environmental cleanup.

“EMSL is a unique resource where users can access and conduct both theoretical and experimental molecular science,” said EMSL Director Allison Campbell. “As its stewards, we recognize the importance of providing the right balance of science-driven computing integrated with interdisciplinary experimental resources.

“The HP system will allow us to acquire a greater level of detail than previously possible and therefore more complete answers to our scientific questions,” she said. “This system’s architecture is tailored to best serve the science and the scientists.”

The supercomputer architecture runs on HP ProLiant servers and includes an InfiniBand 4x DDR interconnect, 4,620 AMD Opteron™ processors, 37 terabytes of memory and aggregate disk bandwidth of about 950 gigabytes per second enabled by nearly 21,000 disk drives in HP enterprise virtual arrays. Consisting of 18,480 2.2 gigahertz AMD Opteron processor cores, the new HP supercomputer will have an expected total peak performance of about 163 teraflops.

The scientists who use EMSL require a high rate at which data can be written to disk. The HP high-performance cluster configuration provides a scalable platform to address the demanding computational and storage needs of EMSL’s users. The HP cluster solution allows for similar user interface for scientists who are running software on EMSL’s current HP cluster.

The Office of Biological and Environmental Research within DOE’s Office of Science funded the supercomputer’s purchase. Scientists will be granted access to the new computer based on a competitive, externally peer-reviewed proposal process.

The system will be delivered and tested in two phases starting in January 2008 and is expected to be fully operational in September 2008.

Tags: Energy, Environment, Fundamental Science, Computational Science, National Security, EMSL, Energy Production, Climate Science, Subsurface Science, Catalysis, Supercomputer

EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, is a national scientific user facility sponsored by the Department of Energy's Office of Science.  Located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., EMSL offers an open, collaborative environment for scientific discovery to researchers around the world. Its integrated computational and experimental resources enable researchers to realize important scientific insights and create new technologies. Follow EMSL on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of more than $1 billion. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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