Titan Super to Enable Improved Reactors

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Over at Scientific American, Nidhi Subbaraman writes that the new Titan supercomputer at ORNL can zip through simulations of a nuclear reaction in a fraction of the time it used to take.

Titan comfortably clears 20 petaflops, which means it can process 20,000 trillion calculations each second. Part of that speed comes from the way it’s built. It’s been loaded up with GPUs–graphics processing units–the device that powers video games or other graphics-intesive displays. Rather than crunching commands one after the other as conventional central processing units (CPUs) do, GPUs can chew through several simple tasks all at the same time, in parallel. This makes them uniquely suited to certain kinds of computing work–like climate modeling, combustion simulations, and nuclear reactions– all of which they can burn through faster, and using less energy than CPUs would. Safer and longer-lasting nuclear power, then, may be just a few supercomputing cycles away.

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