NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery Since 1974

NERSC History

Breaking the Petaflop Barrier

In 2010, the center broke the quadrillions-of-calculations-per-second mark with Hopper, a Cray XE6 named for pioneering computing scientist Grace Murray Hopper. With more than 150,000 processor cores, the system is capable of peak theoretical performance of 1.05 petaflops (quadrilliions of "floating point operations" per second). At the time, Hopper operated alongside a second supercomputing system (Franklin, a Cray XT4 accepted in 2009), an IBM iDataplex cluster (Carver) and various special-purpose and testbed systems, including PDSF (dedicated to high-energy physics) and the Joint Genome Institute's system (dedicated to genomic research). Carver was retired in 2010, Franklin in 2012 and Hopper in 2015.

Today NERSC provides some of the largest open computing and storage systems available to the global scientific community and continually evolves its systems to ensure that users are never presented with an entirely new system at any one time. The center is currently home to two world-class supercomputers: Edison, a Cray XC30 installed in 2012-2013, and Cori, a Cray XC40 installed in 2015-2016. And as the amount of scientific data continues to grow, NERSC has kept pace with the High-Performance Storage System (HPSS), an archival storage system that currently holds about 90 petabytes of data (more than 179 million files) and has a maximum capacity of 240 petabytes of data. DOE's Energy Sciences Network (ESnet)—the high-speed computer network managed by Berkeley Lab—has also grown and evolved along with NERSC, moving beyond computer access to provide a full range of communication services for DOE scientists.