Lab's new BlueGene/L re-establishesU.S. dominance in supercomputers

Oct. 1, 2004

Lab's new BlueGene/L re-establishesU.S. dominance in supercomputers

LIVERMORE, Calif. — There’s a new world heavyweight supercomputer coming to town, courtesy of the Department of Energy. BlueGene/L is the latest jewel in DOE’s crown of high-performance computers that dates back to the agency’s formation during the Cold War.

At present, five of the world’s top 10 fastest computers are hard at work at DOE facilities. Delivery of BlueGene/L at the DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory should begin this November.

"In July, I predicted that America would reclaim the lead in Supercomputing. And now it has. The announcement that BlueGene/L is number one is just the tip of the iceberg," said Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.

Jointly developed with IBM, and operational by summer 2005, BlueGene/L will exceed the power of the Earth Simulator in Japan by a factor of eight, yet requires only 1/6th the electrical power and 1/10th the floor space. The pricing is very cost efficient.

The price point, coupled with operating efficiency, will enable a greater number of U.S. universities, governmental agencies, research institutions and commercial users to purchase and operate world-class supercomputers.

"This achievement represents a deliberate long-term investment by DOE in high performance computing technology for US competitiveness. We have invested in the R&D, and have participated in the technical reviews. When complete, this machine will significantly impact the Stockpile Stewardship program by helping to understand the safety, performance and surety of the enduring National Nuclear Stockpile," Secretary Abraham added.

The next jewel in DOE's crown, known as ASC purple, was promised by Secretary Abraham in 2002. This joint IBM project will be a workhorse super computer capable of 100-trillion calculations per second, dedicated to research for the nuclear stockpile. It is scheduled for delivery next June, at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

By the numbers…
  BlueGene/L Earth Simulator
Manufacturer IBM NEC
CPU Architecture Commodity multi-processor Custom multi-processor
Footprint 320 sq. ft. 32,500 sq. ft.
Power requirement 216 KW 6,000 KW
Annual electric bill $ 250,000 $10,000,000
LINPACK Speed 70.72 35.86
Owner U.S. Dept. of Energy Government of Japan

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a nuclear security laboratory, with a mission to ensure national security and apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for the National Nuclear Security Administration/U.S. Department of Energy.