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LANL Adds Capacity to Trinity Supercomputer for Stockpile Stewardship

Los Alamos National Laboratory has boosted the computational capacity of their Trinity supercomputer with a merger of two system partitions.

Now available for production computing in the Lab’s classified network, the system now uses Xeon Haswell and the Xeon Phi Knights Landing (KNL) processors. Trinity has provided service for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)’s Stockpile Stewardship Program since summer 2016, but it has been dramatically expanded to now provide almost 680,000 advanced technology KNL processors as a key part of NNSA’s overall Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program.

“With this merge completed, we have now successfully released one of the most capable supercomputers in the world to the Stockpile Stewardship Program,” said Bill Archer, Los Alamos ASC program director. “Trinity will enable unprecedented calculations that will directly support the mission of the national nuclear security laboratories, and we are extremely excited to be able to deliver this capability to the complex.”

The Trinity project is managed and operated by Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories under the New Mexico Alliance for Computing at Extreme Scale (ACES) partnership. The capabilities of Trinity are required for supporting the NNSA Stockpile Stewardship program’s certification and assessments to ensure that the nation’s nuclear stockpile is safe, reliable, and secure.

In June 2017, the ACES team took the classified Trinity-Haswell system down, as planned, and merged the existing Xeon processors (Haswell) partition with the Xeon Phi processors (Knights Landing) partition. The system was back up for production use the first week of July.

The Knights Landing processors were accepted for use in December 2016 and since then they have been used for open science work in the unclassified network, permitting nearly unprecedented large-scale science simulations.

The main benefit of doing open science was to find any remaining issues with the system hardware and software before Trinity is turned over for production computing in the classified environment,” said Trinity project director Jim Lujan. “In addition, some great science results were realized,” he said. “Knights Landing is a multicore processor that has 68 compute cores on one piece of silicon, called a die. This allows for improved electrical efficiency that is vital for getting to exascale, the next frontier of supercomputing, and is three times as power-efficient as the Haswell processors,” Archer noted.

Trinity now has 301,952 Xeon and 678, 912 Xeon Phi processors all available for classified computing, along with two pebibytes (PiB) of memory. Byte is the standard unit of digital information in a computer, originally the number of bits—typically eight—required to encode a single text character. A single petabyte would be one quadrillion bytes. (For reference, it has been said that a single petabyte of MP3-encoded music would take 2,000 years to play.) And the binary version, the pebibyte, is 12 percent greater.

Besides blending the well-known Haswell processors with the new, more efficient Knights Landing ones, Trinity benefits from the introduction of solid state storage (burst buffers). This is changing the ratio of disk and tape necessary to satisfy bandwidth and capacity requirements, and it drastically improves the usability of the systems for application input/output. With its new solid-state storage burst buffer and capacity-based campaign storage, Trinity enables users to iterate more frequently, ultimately reducing the amount of time to produce a scientific result.

Trinity Timeline:

  • June 2015, Trinity first arrived at Los Alamos, Haswell partition installation began.
  • February 12 to April 8, 2016, approximately 60 days of computing access made available for open science using the Haswell-only partition.
  • June 2016, Knights Landing components of Trinity began installation.
  • July 5, 2016, Trinity’s classified side began serving the Advanced Technology Computing Campaign (ATCC-1) projects.
  • February 8, 2017, Trinity Open Science (unclassified) early access shakeout began on the Knights Landing partition before integration with the Haswell partition in the classified network.
  • July 2017, Intel Haswell and Intel Knights Landing partitions were merged, transitioning to classified computing.

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