March 15, 2002

Contract signed for TSF construction

The contract for construction of the Terascale Simulation Facility was signed this week with M.A. Mortenson Company’s Advanced Technology Group.

The $54.45 million contract covers construction of the 253,000-square-foot supercomputing facility that will house the next generation of Advanced Simulation and Computing Campaign (ASC) computers to serve Defense & Nuclear Technologies and the Stockpile Stewardship Program. Groundbreaking is scheduled for early April.

"Mortenson brings a lot of experience in advanced technology projects to the construction of the Terascale Simulation Facility (TSF)," said Roy Neyer, Laboratory project manager. "We’re excited to work with Mortenson to build the facility of the future in supercomputing."

To be located immediately south of the Drainage Retention Basin, west of Bldg. 551 and northeast of Bldg. 451, the TSF consists of two 128-foot-by-192-foot two-level computer room facilities — over one acre of computer floor, larger than a football field — flanked to the south by a four-story office complex that will house 288 scientists and engineers.

Construction of TSF will take four years with completion scheduled for 2006, though the first ground floor computer area is to be completed in time for the June 2004 delivery of the 60 plus teraflop ASCI Option Purple machines. "The project will be constructed in phases to allow early use of the first computer room," said Barbara Atkinson, Computation’s representative for TSF.

The TSF computer rooms are specially designed (see accompanying article) to house the 100 teraops-class computers the Advanced Simulation and Computing Campaign requires for simulation of nuclear weapons performance under the Stockpile Stewardship Program — the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) program to ensure the safety and reliability of the nation’s stockpile.

Based in Minnesota, M.A. Mortenson’s Advanc-ed Technology Group (ATG) was chosen in a "best value contract selection process." The company was chosen for its experience and exemplary safety record, according to Neyer.
A privately held, family-owned construction company, M.A. Mortenson has been in the general contracting business for 47 years. Mortenson ATG has worked with such clients as Seagate Technology, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Honeywell International, Agilent Technologies, Cypress Semiconductor and other technology companies.

This is not the first Laboratory project to which Mortenson has contributed. The company set and aligned laser bay vessels and structures in the National Ignition Facility.

"We completed some 12 projects almost identical in requirements to the TSF," said Tab Barth, the senior project manager who will oversee work at the Lab for Mortenson ATG. "Our division has built many clean room, controlled-environment facilities for private industry as well as for university research and development projects."

Mortenson ATG has built more than a billion dollars in electronics and microelectronics facilities around the world and prides itself on delivering projects on time and within budget. Company areas of specialization include mechanical, electrical and process systems and it has developed a reputation as a cost-effective provider of microelectronics facilities.

The effort to build a new facility began with the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative six years ago. "When the program started, we realized we didn’t have the infrastructure for new machines," Atkinson said. "We were able to accommodate ASCI White by retrofitting and by making such modifications as raising the floor in the main room of Bldg. 451.

"We’ve taken that building as far as we could," she said. "We needed to be able to accommodate the machines of the future."