Sequoia supercomputer earns Popular Mechanics 2012 Breakthrough Award

Oct. 5, 2012

Bruce Goodwin and Michel McCoy in front of Sequoia. (Download Image)

Sequoia supercomputer earns Popular Mechanics 2012 Breakthrough Award

Donald B Johnston,, 925-423-4902
The Laboratory's Sequoia supercomputer has been selected for a Breakthrough Award from Popular Mechanics magazine. Sequoia, an IBM BlueGene/Q machine, is ranked No. 1 on the industry-standard TOP500 list of the world's fastest high performance computing systems.

Bruce Goodwin, principal associate director for Weapons and Complex Integration (WCI), Michel McCoy, head of LLNL's Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program, and representatives from IBM will receive the award at a ceremony this evening in New York City. Goodwin also is participating in an afternoon panel discussion about technological innovation sponsored by Popular Mechanics . The annual Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards recognize the 10 top "world changing" innovations each year in fields ranging from computing and engineering to medicine, space exploration and automotive design. Breakthrough Awards are given in two categories: innovators, whose inventions will make the world smarter, safer and more efficient in the years to come, and products, which are setting benchmarks in design and engineering today.

"We are excited to recognize this year's list of incredible honorees for their role in shaping the future," said James Meigs, editor-in-chief of Popular Mechanics . "From a featherweight metal to the world's fastest and most electrically efficient supercomputer, this year's winners embody the creative spirit that the Breakthrough Awards were founded upon."

The 'breakthrough' technologies will be featured in the magazine's November edition, which will hit the newsstands later this month. More about the technologies receiving awards this year is available at the magazine Website .

Sequoia was brought on line earlier this year and continues to undergo shakeout testing. Clocking 16.3 petaflops (quadrillion floating point operations per second), Sequoia was not only ranked the world's fastest supercomputer in June, but was also No. 1 on the Green 500 as the most energy efficient HPC system and No. 1 on the Graph 500, the ability to solve big data problems -- finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Sequoia is running unclassified applications as a part of the testing required before it transitions to classified stockpile stewardship computing for ASC in early 2013. As Sequoia is being sited, its computational power is being used to model and simulate the human heart in three dimensions at unprecedented resolution. See the latest edition of Science & Technology Review for more about the heart simulation.