NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery for 50 Years

Cray Wins $52 Million Supercomputer Contract with NERSC

System at Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab Will Be One of World’s Fastest

August 10, 2006

Cray Media: Melissa Power, 401-454-1314 ,    
Cray Investors: Vic Chynoweth, 206-701-2094,

SEATTLE, WA and BERKELEY, CA — Cray Inc. (NASDAQ GM: CRAY) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science announced today that Cray has won the contract to install a next-generation supercomputer at the DOE’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC). The systems and multi-year services contract, valued at over $52 million, includes delivery of a Cray massively parallel processor supercomputer, code-named “Hood.”

The contract also provides options for future upgrades that would quadruple the size of the system and eventually boost performance to one petaflops (1,000 trillion floating point operations per second) and beyond.

A successor to the massively parallel Cray XT3™ supercomputer, the Hood system installed at NERSC will be among the world’s fastest general-purpose systems. It will deliver sustained performance of at least 16 trillion calculations per second—with a theoretical peak speed of 100 trillion calculations per second—when running a suite of diverse scientific applications at scale. The system uses thousands of AMD Opteron™ processors running tuned, lightweight operating system kernels and interfaced to Cray’s unique SeaStar™ network.

Cray will begin shipping the new supercomputer to the NERSC facility at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory later this year, with completion of the installation anticipated in the first half of 2007 and acceptance in mid-2007.

As part of a competitive procurement process, NERSC evaluated systems from a number of vendors using the NERSC Sustained System Performance (SSP) metric. The SSP metric, developed by NERSC, measures sustained performance on a set of codes designed to accurately represent the challenging computing environment at the Center.

“While the theoretical peak speed of supercomputers may be good for bragging rights, it’s not an accurate indicator of how the machine will perform when running actual research codes,” said Horst Simon, director of the NERSC Division at Berkeley Lab. “To better gauge how well a system will meet the needs of our 2,500 users, we developed SSP. According to this test, the new system will deliver over 16 teraflop/s on a sustained basis.”

“The Cray proposal was selected because its price/performance was substantially better than other proposals we received, as determined by NERSC’s comprehensive evaluation criteria of more than 40 measures,” said Bill Kramer, general manager of the NERSC Center.

“We are excited that NERSC will again be home to a large Cray supercomputer,” said Cray President and CEO Peter Ungaro. “We are proud to have been selected by NERSC in a challenging and competitive evaluation process using a measurement that emulates real-world conditions, rather than a simplistic peak-performance measurement. NERSC joins a growing number of major high-performance computing centers that have selected Cray systems which exemplify our vision of Adaptive Supercomputing by handling scientific applications of ever-increasing complexity and scaling to the highest performance levels.”

The Hood supercomputer at NERSC will consist of over 19,000 AMD Opteron 2.6-gigahertz processor cores (19,344 compute CPUs), with two cores per socket making up one node. Each node has 4 gigabytes (4 billion bytes) of memory and a dedicated SeaStar connection to the internal network. The full system will consist of over 100 cabinets with 39 terabytes (39 trillion bytes) of aggregate memory capacity. When completely installed, the system will increase NERSC's sustained computational capability by almost a factor of 10, with an SSP of 16.09 teraflop/s (as a reference, Seaborg’s SSP is 0.89 Tflop/s, and Bassi’s SSP is 0.8 Tflop/s). The system will have a bisection bandwidth of 6.3 terabytes per second and 402 terabytes of usable disk.

“AMD and Cray continue to collaborate on innovative ways to leverage Direct Connect Architecture and HyperTransport™ technology,” said Marty Seyer, senior vice president, Commercial Segment, AMD. “This innovation, along with Cray's supercomputing expertise and focus on scalable system architectures, has yet again resulted in a significant win. This is confirmation that customers believe that the design and performance of the AMD Opteron processor combined with Cray’s superior system architecture provides a winning combination.”

In keeping with NERSC’s tradition of naming supercomputers after world-class scientists, the new system will be called “Franklin” in honor of Benjamin Franklin, America’s first scientist. This year is the 300th anniversary of Franklin’s birth.

“Ben Franklin’s scientific achievements included fundamental advances in electricity, thermodynamics, energy efficiency, material science, geophysics, climate, ocean currents, weather, materials science, population growth, medicine and health, and many other areas,” said NERSC’s Bill Kramer. “In the tradition of Franklin, we expect this system to make contributions to science of the same high order.”

About Hood Cray’s next-generation supercomputer, code-named “Hood” after Mount Hood in the Cascade range of the Pacific Northwest, builds upon the scalable architecture of the highly successful Cray XT3 supercomputer and is intended for the most demanding scientific and engineering problems. Like Cray’s XT3 system, Hood is designed around a scalable processing element using x86 64-bit AMD Opteron dual-core processors, upgradable to quad-core when made available, and uses a future generation of SeaStar technology to increase bandwidth between the Opteron and the system network.

About Cray Inc. As the global leader in supercomputing, Cray provides highly advanced supercomputing systems and world-class services and support to government, industry and academia. Cray technology enables scientists and engineers to achieve remarkable breakthroughs by accelerating performance, improving efficiency and extending the capabilities of their most demanding applications. Cray's Adaptive Supercomputing vision will result in innovative next-generation products that integrate diverse processing technologies into a unified architecture, allowing customers to surpass today's limitations and meeting the market's continued demand for realized performance. For more information, go to

Safe Harbor Statement This press release contains forward-looking statements. There are certain factors that could cause Cray’s execution plans to differ materially from those anticipated by the statements above. Among these are the technical challenges of developing high-performance computing systems, including potential delays in development projects; timing and level of government support for supercomputer purchases and research and development activities; reliance on third-party suppliers, including delays in availability of parts from suppliers; timing of and successful porting of application programs to new computing systems; and successful passing of acceptance tests. For a discussion of these and other risks, see “Factors That Could Affect Future Results” in Cray’s most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC.

Cray is a registered trademark, and Cray XT3 is a trademark, of Cray Inc. AMD, AMD Opteron and combinations thereof are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. HyperTransport is a licensed trademark of the HyperTransport Technology Consortium. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners

About NERSC and Berkeley Lab
The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility that serves as the primary high performance computing center for scientific research sponsored by the Office of Science. Located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NERSC serves almost 10,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities researching a wide range of problems in climate, fusion energy, materials science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and other disciplines. Berkeley Lab is a DOE national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy. »Learn more about computing sciences at Berkeley Lab.