NNSA Completes LLNL Exascale Facility for El Capitan

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The Exascale Computing Facility at the Livermore Computing Center

WASHINGTON – The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced the completion of construction on the Exascale Computing Facility Modernization project at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California.

The project upgraded the electrical and mechanical capabilities of the Livermore Computing Center, which will enable the facility to power the first NNSA exascale system, named El Capitan, and to provide exascale-class computing service (of performance of at least one quintillion calculations per second) to LLNL, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

On May 5, NNSA approved the formal completion of construction and the beginning of the transition to operations – known as Critical Decision-4 under the Department of Energy’s process for planning and executing major construction projects. The project more than doubled the facility’s existing cooling capacity, which is now capable of absorbing enough heat to melt 28,000 tons of ice in a day. It also upgraded the existing 45 megawatt electrical system to 85 megawatts, an expansion that included new transmission lines, switches and substations.

The lab will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the accomplishment on June 15.

“We are pleased that this project has received approval for CD-4. It plays a vital role in supporting NNSA’s goal of bringing a more advanced computing capability to the complex. Providing exascale computing capabilities to the NNSA enterprise starting in 2023 will aid the country’s efforts in a significant, time-critical weapons modernization project and serve as evidence of the country’s commitment to leadership in high performance computing.” says Mike Lang, federal program manager for the Advanced Simulation and Computing program.

The upgrades will allow LLNL to run supercomputers capable of regularly performing the high-fidelity, 3D modeling and simulation jobs necessary to meet the increasingly challenging certification requirements of NNSA’s Stockpile Stewardship Program and its mission to enhance the capability of the nation’s nuclear deterrent.