Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Mike Bradley ()
Communications and External Relations


Department of Energy Awards $25 Million to Oak Ridge National Lab to Lead Effort in Building World’s Largest Computer

The Center for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory today has 10 teraflops of total computing capability. Under the Energy Department’s National Leadership Computing Facility plan, that capability will grow to 300 teraflops by 2007 toward an eventual goal of 1,000 teraflops. A teraflop represents one trillion calculations per second.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., May 12, 2004 — The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been chosen to lead a partnership with a goal of building the world's most powerful supercomputer by 2007, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham announced today.

ORNL Director Jeff Wadsworth said the National Leadership Computing Facility (NLCF) proposal is a five-year plan that will pool the partnership's computational resources for a sustained capacity of 50 trillion calculations (teraflops) per second and a peak capacity of more than 250 trillion teraflops per second.

"Our plans are to surpass the world's current fastest supercomputer, Japan's 40-teraflop Earth Simulator, within a year. The new machine will enable breakthrough discoveries in biology, fusion energy, climate prediction, nanoscience and many other fields that will fundamentally change both science and its impact across society," Wadsworth said.

The Department of Energy's recently-opened Center for Computational Sciences at ORNL, the ambitious proposal, and the quality of the ORNL partnership were believed to be prime factors in the decision by DOE's Office of Science to choose Oak Ridge.

Thomas Zacharia, ORNL associate laboratory director for Computing and Computational Sciences, said, "In the Center for Computational Sciences, ORNL has gathered the personnel, the infrastructure and the machines needed to provide the foundation for the most important computational science project in American history."

The partnership's aggressive timetable calls for increasing the capacity of the current ORNL Cray X1 computer to 20 teraflops this year and adding a 20-teraflop Cray Red Storm-based machine in 2005. A key member of the partnership, Argonne National Laboratory, will install a 5-teraflop IBM Blue Gene computer.

A 100-teraflop Cray system at Oak Ridge is planned to be added in 2006, which will be increased to a total of 250 teraflops in 2007.

The supercomputer at ORNL will be housed in a new 170,000 square foot facility that includes 400 staff and 40,000 square feet of space for computer systems and data storage. The machines will run on 12 megawatts of power supplied by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

In addition to the world's best hardware available for scientific computing, the NLCF will provide the computational modeling software needed to take full advantage of the computer's capabilities.

Greatly expanded computational power for advanced computer simulation has become increasingly essential to research. The enhanced computational power has enabled scientists to study and solve complex problems such as weather, disease and the development of therapeutic drugs for which conventional experiments are not practical.

America's market leadership in technology-based industries that manufacture cars and trucks, aircraft, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals depends upon advanced computational simulation to develop new products and shorten the time and cost of product development.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.


EDITORS: A PDF fact sheet on the Center for Computational Sciences is available at http://www.ornl.gov/info/news/cco/ccsfact.pdf.