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Record Simulations Conducted on Lawrence Livermore Supercomputer

Over at Lawrence Livermore, Breanna Bishop writes that researchers at LLNL have performed record simulations using all 1,572,864 cores of the Sequoia supercomputer. As the first supercomputer to exceed one million computational cores, Sequoia is also is No. 2 on the TOP500 with 16.3 petaflops of performance.

SIRIS simulation on Sequoia of the interaction of a fast-ignition-scale laser with a dense DT plasma.

The simulations were performed by Frederico Fiuza, a physicist and Lawrence Fellow at LLNL. Designed to study the interaction of ultra-powerful lasers with dense plasmas in a proposed method to produce fusion energy, the project is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fusion Energy Science Program.

Using the OSIRIS code, Fiuza demonstrated excellent scaling in parallel performance to the full 1.6 million cores of Sequoia. By increasing the number of cores for a relatively small problem of fixed size, what computer scientists call “strong scaling,” OSIRIS obtained 75 percent efficiency on the full machine. But when the total problem size was increased, what is called “weak scaling,” a 97 percent efficiency was achieved.

This means that a simulation that would take an entire year to perform on a medium-size cluster of 4,000 cores can be performed in a single day. Alternatively, problems 400 times greater in size can be simulated in the same amount of time,” Fiuza said. “The combination of this unique supercomputer and this highly efficient and scalable code is allowing for transformative research.”

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