Sierra Simulations Raise Fahrenheit in 451

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The new Dell “Sierra” supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will soon be made available for unclassified research at the lab. Housed in Building 451, the new 261 Tflop system will be used for climate modeling and atmospheric simulations, supernova and planetary science, materials and strength modeling, laser and plasma simulations, and biology and life sciences.

“In recent years, the request for HPC cycles for worthy Grand Challenge research projects has far outstripped the available cycles. Sierra will provide additional cycles to the benefit of projects ranging from molecular imaging, climate change, astrophysics, inertial confinement fusion, and catalytic chemistry to seismic and nuclear explosion monitoring,” said Fred Streitz, director of the Institute for Scientific Computing Research (ISCR), who oversees the Grand Challenge Program.

Grand Challenge projects are collaborative research efforts with academic institutions and other labs in fields of interest to the Lab — projects that push the envelope of “capability” computing. Capability computing is when powerful HPC systems are largely dedicated to taking on the most complex and difficult problems. Capacity computing is when HPC systems are subdivided to run multiple jobs simultaneously.