NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery Since 1974

National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) Awards Supercomputer Contract to Cray

August 5, 2009

BERKELEY, CA - The Department of Energy's (DOE) National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announced today that a contract for its next generation supercomputing system will be awarded to Cray Inc. The multi-year supercomputing contract includes delivery of a Cray XT5™ massively parallel processor supercomputer, which will be upgraded to a future-generation Cray supercomputer. When completed, the new system will deliver a peak performance of more than one petaflops, equivalent to more than one quadrillion calculations per second.


"As NERSC is the primary supercomputing center for DOE's Office of Science, making Cray's latest technology available to our users will accelerate innovation across a wide range of scientific disciplines, helping scientists tackle problems of vital importance to our nation's future."

— Michael Strayer, Associate Director of DOE's Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research


Like NERSC's current 355-teraflops Cray XT4™ system, named "Franklin," the new supercomputing system will help advance open science research in climate modeling, biology, environmental sciences, combustion, materials science, chemistry, geosciences, fusion energy, astrophysics, nuclear and high-energy physics, and other disciplines, along with scientific visualization of massive data sets. Click here for more information about the scientific work done on Franklin.

“As NERSC is the primary supercomputing center for DOE's Office of Science, making Cray's latest technology available to our users will accelerate innovation across a wide range of scientific disciplines, helping scientists tackle problems of vital importance to our nation's future,” said Michael Strayer, Associate Director of DOE's Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.

According to NERSC Director Kathy Yelick, Cray was awarded the contract based on several factors, including performance and energy efficiency on a set of application benchmarks that capture the challenging workload of the 3,000 NERSC users.

“Because we serve such a large and scientifically diverse user community, it’s critical that our systems deliver the best performance while running real-world applications—especially as users scale their codes to run on tens of thousands of processor cores,” Yelick said.

The new Cray system will provide many pioneering features, including the ability for users to customize the operating system for their own codes and to schedule jobs and access their data without logging in to the supercomputer.  Yelick adds, “Cray's new cooling system and interconnect network technology mesh well with our research efforts into energy efficient computing and programming models.”

“We are proud that NERSC chose Cray as its ongoing partner to provide its diverse and demanding users with advanced scientific computing capabilities,” said Cray President and CEO Peter Ungaro. “Our partnership with NERSC expands beyond our supercomputers to working together to get the most efficient and effective use of the systems as possible — a partnership that benefits all Cray customers around the globe. We are excited at the scientific achievements that NERSC’s users have made on the Cray XT4 'Franklin' system, and we are looking forward to the advancements that will be made on both our Cray XT5 system as well as our future systems that are part of this contract.”

Consisting of products and services, the multi-year contract is valued at over $50 million. The full system is expected to go into production in late 2010.

About NERSC
The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is the primary high-performance computing facility for scientific research sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research, which is part of the DOE's Office of Science. The NERSC Center currently serves thousands of scientists at national laboratories and universities across the country researching problems in climate modeling, computational biology, environmental sciences, combustion, materials science, chemistry, geosciences, fusion energy, astrophysics, nuclear and high-energy physics, and other disciplines. Established in 1974, the NERSC Center has long been a leader in providing systems, services and expertise to advance computational science throughout the DOE research community. NERSC is managed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory under contract with DOE. For more information about the NERSC Center, go to http://www.nersc.gov.

About Cray Inc.
For more information about Cray Inc., go to www.cray.com.

About Berkeley Lab
Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the DOE Office of Science. Visit our website at http://www.lbl.gov.


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, the NERSC Center serves more than 7,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities researching a wide range of problems in combustion, climate modeling, 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.