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Sequoia: The Next Generation of Supercomputer

By HPC Wire

May 5, 2009



The Sequoia project, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), aims to build the world's first 20 petaflop supercomputer. Sequoia would be 20 times more powerful than the Roadrunner, the current fastest computer. Before Sequoia becomes operational, another system dubbed Dawn will be built to create and test applications that will then be run on Sequoia. Dawn will be based on IBM's Blue Gene/P technology and will perform at over 500 teraflops. Both Sequoia and Dawn will work in tandem, but Dawn will give users the opportunity to develop or adapt their applications for Blue Gene technology and to test and improve their scalability.

NNSA wants to have Sequoia in use by 2012. It will feature at least 96 racks that will hold 1.6 million IBM Power processors.

Observers not involved in the project say the rapid expansion in supercomputer performance is critical. "Any country that wants to come out on top in a global context will invest in the performance of supercomputers," according to the U.S. Council on Competitiveness. NNSA says Sequoia will contribute to the increased security and reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and a variety of other projects. IBM estimates that Sequoia will be able to forecast weather up to 40 times more accurately than is currently possible, and could be invaluable to research areas such as astronomy, energy, biotechnology, and climate research.

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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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