Supercomputers are used in science and research to perform very complex calculations and simulations that are needed in scientific research. Research often involves modeling climate change and other projects.
The Cray XT Jaguar supercomputer installed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) was upgraded recently to increase its performance significantly. The supercomputer is now capable of 1.64 petaflops per second. A petaflop is quadrillion mathematical calculations per second.
The upgrade makes the XT Jaguar the first petaflop system in the world dedicated to open research. One of the first calculations achieved a sustained performance of more than 1.3 petaflops.
Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, the DOE Under Secretary for Science said in a statement, "Jaguar is one of science's newest and most formidable tools for advancement in science and engineering. It will enable researchers to simulate physical processes on a scale never seen before, and approach convergence for dynamical processes never thought possible. High end computation will become the critical third pillar for scientific discovery, along with experiment and theory."
The upgrades to the supercomputer were a four year project that the DOE says came in on time and on budget. The sustained petascale performance the computer achieved isn’t the first time an ORNL supercomputer has set records for performance. In 1998, another ORNL team was the first to achieve sustained terascale performance for science.
The updates to the Jaguar supercomputer included the addition of 200 Cray XT5 cabinets to the existing 84 XT4 cabinets used in the Jaguar machine. The computer uses over 45,000 of the latest AMD quad-core Opteron processors and has 362 terabytes of memory and a ten petabytes file system.
In June, the fastest supercomputer in the land was capable of 1.026 petaflops.