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New Home Planned for 10-Teraflops Supercomputer

The next big thing in the supercomputer world will, indeed, take up more space. You can't go from a trillion calculations to ten trillion calculations per second without building a bigger machine that has many more parallel processors. Because ORNL's goal is to acquire a 10-teraflops super-computer by 2003, a new, larger building is required.

Artist’s conception of ORNL’s planned new building for DOE’s Center for Computational Sciences.
Artist’s conception of ORNL’s planned new building for DOE’s Center for Computational Sciences. (Rendering enhanced by Allison Baldwin)

Buddy Bland of ORNL's Computer Science and Mathematics Division, says, "To build a many-teraflops parallel machine, tens of thousands of processors must be grouped together. Such a machine will need a vast amount of space. Additionally, the computer will require larger amounts of power and more air-conditioning equipment."

For example, the Intel Paragon at ORNL, which was the world's fastest supercomputer in early 1995, took up 500 square feet of space. Eagle takes up 1000 square feet. The space in Building 4500-North available for Eagle, Falcon, Cheetah, and the necessary data storage units amounts to 7500 square feet. The fastest supercomputer in 2001 takes up 12,000 square feet.

"Our new building at ORNL to house DOE's Center for Computational Sciences will have 40,000 square feet for the 10-teraflops supercomputer and other equipment that we are planning to have in 2003," Bland says. "We will need 2.5 megawatts of power and 750 tons of air conditioning for the computer center.

"To meet DOE's future requirements for doing science using high-performance computing, we must have state-of-the-art facilities. Fortunately, UT-Battelle is committed to building these facilities as part of its modernization plan for ORNL."

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