ORNL's Gaea Climate Supercomputer Unveiled

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You may have been around long enough to remember the hay-day of conversion vans in the 1970’s. For every custom van, there was a mural that expressed the owner’s personality. Flash forward to today, where Cray has turned multi-cabinet supercomputers in custom mosaics that reflect their customer’s mission.

Today, ORNL’s Jim Rogers revealed the name and look of their new Cray machine: “Gaea,” a fine moniker indeed for a system dedicated to climate research:

The name of the machine is Gaea, Mother Earth, from Greek mythology. Gaea was the Protogenos (primeval divinity) of earth, one of the primal elements who first emerged at the dawn of creation, along with air, sea and sky. This name was selected from among a large list of contributions from the staff that were building the machine. The name is reflective of a primary mission of the machine, the assessment of climate variability and change on the Earth Systems.”

Gaea is a Cray XT6 with a peak capability of 260 teraflops today that will reportedly be upgraded to Petascale capacity in the future. The supercomputer is part of the $215 million project funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with ORNL hosting the machine and lending staff assistance and research expertise.