IBM and the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have signed a new contract to build the next generation of IBM's BlueGene supercomputers at the famed DOE facility. The first IBM BlueGene supercomputer, called "Dawn," will have a top processing speed of 500 teraflops. The second IBM system, dubbed "Sequoia," will offer 20 petaflops of performance and surpass the records Big Blue set when it installed the massive Roadrunner system for the DOE in 2008.
and the U.S. Department of Energy have signed a new agreement that will allow
Big Blue to build its next generation of BlueGene supercomputers at the
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore,
IBM and the DOE announced their latest
partnership Feb. 3. The first part of this new supercomputer installation will
begin later this year, and IBM plans to
complete the project in 2012, when the new BlueGene system, called "Sequoia,"
When it's complete, IBM is hoping that
the Sequoia supercomputer erases the performance benchmarks the company set
Roadrunner system, which went online in 2008.
The $100 million Roadrunner system, which is currently installed at the
DOE's Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico,
offers a peak performance of 1.105 petaflops, or more than 1.1 quadrillion
calculations per second. When Sequoia is finished in 2012, IBM
believes the system will deliver 20 petaflops of performance using the
company's next-generation BlueGene technology.
The only other petaflop supercomputer system listed on the Top 500 Supercomputer
list is the Cray
XT Jaguar supercomputer, which
is located at the DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee
However, before IBM builds the Sequoia
supercomputer, the company's engineers will begin work on "Dawn," a
high-performance computing (HPC) system,
later this year. Dawn is based on IBM's BlueGene/P
design and can deliver 500 teraflops, or 500 trillion calculations per second
Dawn will lay the ground work for Sequoia and IBM's
new generation of BlueGene technology. IBM
and DOE engineers are set to begin work on Sequoia in 2011 and finish the
project a year later.
When both the Dawn and Sequoia systems are complete, the DOE is planning to
use the two systems to connect the compute power of its laboratories at Los
Alamos, Sandia and Livermore.
This program will focus on various complex HPC
simulations, including weapons research for the federal government. The system
will also become part of the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration
Stockpile Stewardship program, which safeguards the nation's nuclear weapons.
Right now, IBM is not disclosing many
details of its new BlueGene technology. However, the Sequoia supercomputer will
be based on IBM's Power Architecture, which
forms the basis on IBM's Power processors.
However, an IBM spokesman said that
Sequoia will not be a hybrid system like Roadrunner. When
IBM designed Roadrunner,
engineers used a combination of IBM's own Cell
processors as well as Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron chips to achieve the
"The new technology will be based on future Blue Gene technology," Ron
Favali, an IBM spokesman, wrote in an e-mail.
"It is not a hybrid system like Roadrunner. The processor technology will be a
future generation of IBM's Power
In addition to processors based on IBM
Power Architecture, the Sequoia supercomputer will use 1.6 petabytes of memory.
The 96 refrigerated cabinets that make up Sequoia will hold 98,304 compute
nodes and 1.6 million processing cores.
As of now, the fastest IBM BlueGene
system is the BlueGene/L eServer Blue Gene Solution at the Lawrence Livermore
labs. This supercomputer offers 478.2 teraflops of performance.