PNNL Designing Supercomputers From the Ground Up

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PNNL announced plans today to begin designing supercomputing platforms from the ground up.  PNNL has been quietly gathering up a mass of serious talent to tackle such a massive effort.  Adolfy Hoisie, formerly of Los Alamos National Lab, has joined the group in Washington state to lead the team.

As director of PNNL’s Center for Advanced Architectures for Extreme Scale Computing, Hoisie is planning on tackling the kind of problems that can be found in a variety of scientific fields, from studying biological systems to understanding the electrical power grid.  The data-intensive problems that PNNL researchers want to solve require a different emphasis in computational resources. But rather than build supercomputers and write software separately, Hoisie and two other computer scientists — Darren Kerbyson and Kevin Barker — will design the supercomputers and the applications that will run on them at the same time.

The complexity of extreme-scale supercomputing systems and applications is now comparable to that of the physical simulations they perform. The science of systems and applications designed for optimal performance is a grand challenge for high performance computing research,” said Moe Khaleel, director of Computational Sciences and Mathematics at PNNL. “PNNL will now be at the forefront of these endeavors.”

Many of you may remember Hoisie from his previous work at LANL.  Hoisie won the Gordon Bell Award from the Association for Computing Machinery in 1996, an honor given for work in parallel computing.  Kerbyson will lead basic research at the center and will also be the chief scientist for the PNNL’s Extreme Scale Computing Initiative, which will be exploring how to tackle analysis of extremely large data sets.  Barker has extensive experience developing tools for modeling software performance and for extreme scale hardware and software. He has also developed applications for parallel computing.  This is big news for the folks around the various DOE lab circles.

For more info, read the full release here.