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2015 Outlook for NERSC Systems

January 6, 2015 by David Turner, Richard Gerber

NERSC staff member David Turner put together the following nice summary of NERSC systems schedule for the next year:

The year 2015 promises to be a busy one for NERSC!

After almost 15 years in downtown Oakland, NERSC will be moving back to the main Berkeley Lab site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus. We will take up residence in a brand-new, purpose-built facility: the Computational Research and Theory (CRT) building. This location will provide us with significantly more space and power for our ever-growing compute, storage, and network resources. Not to mention better views of the San Francisco Bay!

Moving the Center from Oakland to Berkeley will be a very complex operation, and will necessitate a certain amount of system downtime. We will do our best to maximize system availability; our primary goal during the move is always to have at least one computational system available and deliver 3 billion hours of computing time for DOE Office of Science researchers.

However, because Edison will be unavailable when it is being moved to CRT in the fall of 2015, you'll probably want to try to get important calculations done as early in the year as possible, particularly if facing publication and/or conference deadlines. We will announce more precise dates for the Edison outage later in the year. 

Hopper and Carver will not move to CRT; they will retire this year in Oakland. Our next major system (Cori) will be delivered directly to CRT (See timeline below).

In order to bridge the gap between Hopper's retirement and Cori's delivery, NERSC is working with Cray to provide a "Cori Phase 1" system. Details of this interim system are still under negotiation, but it will use Intel Haswell processors (the follow-on to the Intel Ivy Bridge processors that populate Edison). The Phase 1 system will have roughly the same computational power as Hopper. The Phase 1 system will be delivered with Cori's Lustre file system and an appropriately-sized Aries interconnect. When the full Cori system is delivered in 2016, with its Knights Landing (Intel Xeon Phi) processors, the Phase 1 system will be integrated into it.

Here is a rough timeline of system activities related to the move to CRT (subject to change):

Sep 30, 2015 Carver retires
Sep 2015 Cori Phase 1 available to users
Oct 2015 Edison goes down for move to CRT
Nov 2015 Edison returns to service, in CRT
Dec 2015 Hopper retires
Jun 2016 Cori Phase 2 delivered

Additional details concerning NERSC's move to CRT may be found here:

We have already announced the following system outages scheduled for early 2015:

Jan 13 - 15: memory upgrade

Jan 27: /scratch2 upgrade
Feb 10: /scratch upgrade
end of Feb: OS/PrgEnv upgrade

In addition to the above, there will be a regular "quarterly maintenance" event that will begin on February 10 and likely conclude on February 11. We will provide details of impacted systems soon for this event.