The Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), already one of the world's leading centers for scientific productivity, is now home to the fifth most powerful supercomputer in the world and the second most powerful in the United States, according to the latest edition of the TOP500 list, the definitive ranking of the world's top computers.
NERSC's newest supercomputer, a 153,408 processor-core Cray XE6 system, posted a performance of 1.05 petaflops (quadrillions of calculations per second) running the Linpack benchmark. In keeping with NERSC's tradition of naming computers for renowned scientists, the system is named Hopper in honor of Admiral Grace Hopper, a pioneer in software development and programming languages.
NERSC serves one of the largest research communities of all supercomputing centers in the United States. The center's supercomputers are used to tackle a wide range of scientific challenges, including global climate change, combustion, clean energy, new materials, astrophysics, genomics, particle physics and chemistry. The more than 400 projects being addressed by NERSC users represent the research mission areas of DOE's Office of Science.
The increasing power of supercomputers helps scientists study problems in greater detail and with greater accuracy, such as increasing the resolution of climate models and creating models of new materials with thousands of atoms. Supercomputers are increasingly used to compliment scientific experimentation by allowing researchers to test theories using computational models and analyzed large scientific data sets. NERSC is also home to Franklin, a 38,128 core Cray XT4 supercomputer with a Linpack performance of 266 teraflops (trillions of calculations per second). Franklin is ranked number 27 on the newest TOP500 list.
The system, installed d in September 2010, is funded by DOE's Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.
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