Video: Sierra – Science Unleashed

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Program Coordinator for Computing Environments & CASC ADL at Livermore.

In this video from the 2019 Stanford HPC Conference, Rob Neely, from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory presents: Sierra – Science Unleashed.

This talk will give an overview of the Sierra supercomputer and some of the early science results it has enabled. Sierra is an IBM system harnessing the power of over 17,000 NVIDIA Volta GPUs recently deployed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and is currently ranked as the #2 system on the Top500. Before being turned over for use in the classified mission, Sierra spent months in an “open science campaign” where we got an early glimpse at some of the truly game-changing science this system will unleash – selected results of which will be presented.”

Sierra will serve the NNSA’s three nuclear security laboratories, LLNLSandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory, providing high-fidelity simulations in support of NNSA’s core mission of ensuring the safety, security and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear stockpile. Its arrival represents years of procurement, design, code development and installation, requiring the efforts of hundreds of computer scientists, developers and operations personnel working in close partnership with IBMNVIDIA and Mellanox.

With the advent of Sierra, Livermore has delivered a powerful new tool for NNSA and stockpile stewardship. This machine represents a new approach to high performance computing that will enable us to address and answer scientific questions previously beyond our reach,” said LLNL Director Bill Goldstein. “I thank everyone involved in getting us to this point: our sponsors at NNSA, our industry and national lab partners and our own dedicated staff. This is a signal moment in Livermore’s history, and a new milestone in our leadership in high performance computing and simulation.”

Sierra is NNSA’s first large-scale production heterogeneous system, meaning each node incorporates both IBM central processing units (CPUs) and NVIDIA graphics processing units (GPUs). It is specifically designed for modeling and simulations essential for NNSA’s Stockpile Stewardship Program, ongoing life extension programs, weapons science and nuclear deterrence. It is expected to go into use for classified production in early 2019.

Rob Neely is a Computer Scientist and Technical Manager at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he is the Weapon Simulation & Computing Program Coordinator for Computing Environments, and the Associate Division Lead for the Center for Applied Scientific Computing (CASC). He also is the DOE Exascale Computing Project lead for Software Technologies Ecosystem and Delivery. He has been involved in High Performance Computing for his entire 25+ year career.

See more talks in the Stanford HPC Conference Video Gallery

Check out our insideHPC Events Calendar



  1. Nice article. One correction: It’s actually #2 on the Nov 2018 list, which is the actual latest.