From Idaho National Labs (INL): “INL expands supercomputing power”

INL expands supercomputing power

Kortny Rolston
Misty Benjamin

Idaho National Laboratory has installed a new 12,512-processor supercomputer — known as “Fission” — that is six times more powerful than its predecessor, Icestorm, which came online in 2007.

The acquisition of Fission, an Appro Xtreme-X™ supercomputer based on AMD Opteron™ processors, enables INL researchers to build more complete scientific models and better predict outcomes for a variety of nuclear and energy-related issues.

Appro Xtreme-X1 Row of Clusters

For example, an INL team is using Fission to simulate what happens to the metal cladding that surrounds uranium fuel in a nuclear reactor. Fission helped create a 3-D fuel rod model that simulates how heat, pressure and other conditions affect cladding during its first 18 months in a reactor – a first for the team.

‘ Fission is a very capable supercomputer that enables increased fidelity in modeling and simulation of complex systems and processes. Scientists and engineers at INL as well as other researchers are already making use of the greatly increased capability, said Eric Whiting, interim director of Idaho National Laboratory’s Center for Advanced Modeling and Simulation.
Derek Gaston, a Computational Applied Mathematician who worked on the fuel rod project, said Fission already is advancing nuclear energy research at INL.

‘ Fission is enabling us to simulate things we couldn’t before,” he said. ‘ With Fission, we have been able to simulate a real fuel rod in a real reactor. We haven’t had the computing power to do that until now.’

Fission has achieved a peak speed of 91 teraflops, which means it can perform 91 trillion floating point calculations per second. (Fission’s size and speed is equivalent to systems that were ranked in the top 100 fastest supercomputers in the world according to a November 2010 list issued by Top 500, an independent organization). [Just for drill, read this about BOINC from Wikpedia: “…As a ‘quasi-supercomputing’ platform, BOINC has about 527,880 active computers (hosts) worldwide processing on average 5.549 petaFLOPS as of March 2011,[2] which tops the processing power of the current fastest supercomputer system (China’s Tianhe-I, with a sustained processing rate of 2.566 PFLOPS) So, maybe since WE constitute the largest super computer in the world, the labs should be coming to US with their projects. Compute intensive? Data intensive? Figure it out. WE are worth the trouble.]”

Read the full article here.