Researchers Set New Simulation Speed Record on Sequoia Supercomputer

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Over at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Donald B Johnston writes that researchers at LLNL and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have set a high performance computing speed record that opens the way to the scientific exploration of complex planetary-scale systems.

In a paper to be published in May, the joint team will announce a record-breaking simulation speed of 504 billion events per second on LLNL’s Sequoia Blue Gene/Q supercomputer, dwarfing the previous record set in 2009 of 12.2 billion events per second. Participants included Peter Barnes, Jr. and David Jefferson of LLNL and CCNI Director and computer science professor Chris Carothers and Justin LaPre of Rensselaer. The records were set using the ROSS (Rensselaer’s Optimistic Simulation System) simulation package developed by Carothers and his students, and using the Time Warp synchronization algorithm originally developed by Jefferson.

This is an exciting time to be working in high-performance computing, as we explore the petascale and move aggressively toward exascale computing,” Carothers said. “We are reaching an interesting transition point where our simulation capability is limited more by our ability to develop, maintain and validate models of complex systems than by our ability to execute them in a timely manner.”

The calculations were completed while Sequoia was in unclassified “early science” service as part of the machine’s integration period. The system is now in classified service for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Advanced Simulation and Computing program for stewardship of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

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