Department of Energy funded Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee boasted the fastest supercomputer in the world last year, before being supplanted by Japan’s “K” supercomputer at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe and the Chinese Tianhe-1A system at the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin.
ORNL was out in force at this year’s SC11, however, with big plans to upgrade its Cray XT5 AMD Istanbul-based Jaguar supercomputer to a faster Cray XT6 system to be dubbed “Titan”, hoped to regain the crown for U.S. supercomputing.
Jaguar, which boasts 1.75 Petaflops with 18,000 nodes and 224,162 cores made up of AMD 6-core Istanbul processors, won’t just be upgrading to new AMD16-core Interlagos CPUs, but will also be adding several as-of-yet-unreleased Nvidia Kepler GPUs, in order to achieve around 20 PFlops.
Fujitsu’s list-topping “K” supercomputer is currently listed as having 10.5 PFlops, while China’s NUDT Tianhe-1A puts out 2.56 PFlops. ORNL, whose Jaguar system was the very first supercomputer to reach more than a petaflops of sustained performance in 2009, is hoping Titan will help push it back into the number one spot of the Top500 in 2012.
With a planned 18,000+ nodes and another 18,000 Kepler GPUs thrown in for acceleration, Titan certainly stands a good chance of meeting its goal.
The national laboratory uses its supercomputers for a variety of science and research projects including studies on nuclear energy, battery chemistry simulation and combustion and materials research.