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Blood simulation on Jaguar takes Gordon Bell Prize

ORNL's Jeff Vetter worked with the Georgia Tech and New York University project that won this year's Gordon Bell Prize.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Nov. 23, 2010 — A team from Georgia Tech, New York University, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) took this year's Gordon Bell Prize by pushing ORNL's Jaguar supercomputer to 700 trillion calculations per second (700 teraflops) with a groundbreaking simulation of blood flow.

The team wins a $10,000 prize provided by HPC pioneer Bell as well as the distinction of having the world's leading scientific computing application.

Another team using Jaguar took an honorable mention in the competition for developing an innovative framework that calculates critical nanoscale properties of materials.

The winning team used 196,000 of Jaguar's 224,000 processor cores to simulate 260 million red blood cells and their interaction with plasma in the circulatory system.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Horst Simon, in announcing the winners Thursday, noted that the team achieved a 10,000-fold improvement over previous simulations of its type.

"This team from Georgia Tech, NYU, and Oak Ridge National Lab received the award for obtaining four orders of magnitude improvement over previous work and achieved an impressive more than 700 teraflops on 200,00 cores of the Jaguar system," Simon said. "It's a very significant accomplishment."

Simon noted also that the team simulated realistic, "deformable" blood cells that change shape rather than simpler, but less realistic, spherical red blood cells, calling the approach a "very challenging multiscale, multiphysics problem."

The winning team included Abtin Rahimian, Ilya Lashuk, Aparna Chandramowlishwaran, Dhairya Malhotra, Logan Moon, Aashay Shringarpure, Richard Vuduc, and George Biros of Georgia Tech, Shravan Veerapaneni and Denis Zorin of NYU, and Rahul Sampath and Jeffrey Vetter of ORNL.

An honorable mention in the Gordon Bell competition went to Anton Kozhevnikov and Thomas Schulthess of ETH Zurich, and Adolfo G. Eguiluz of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, for reaching 1.3 thousand trillion calculations a second, or 1.3 petaflops, and scaling to the full Jaguar system in a method that solves the Schrödinger equation from first principles for electronic systems while minimizing approximations or simplifying assumptions.

The Gordon Bell Prize has been awarded each year since 1987, recognizing the world's top high-performance computing (HPC) application. This year's awards ceremony was conducted in conjunction with SC10, an international meeting of supercomputing experts held New Orleans.