From Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: “LLNL’s Lassen supercomputer leaps to No. 10 on TOP500 list, Sierra remains No. 2”

From Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

June 18, 2019
Jeremy Thomas

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Lassen IBM NVIDIA supercomputer

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Lassen joined its companion system Sierra in the top 10 of the TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, announced Monday at the 2019 International Supercomputing Conference (ISC19) in Frankfurt, Germany.

Lassen, an unclassified, heterogenous IBM/NVIDIA system with the same architecture as Sierra but smaller, placed No. 10 on the list with a High Performance Linpack (HPL) benchmark score of 18.2 petaFLOPS (18.2 quadrillion point operations per second) boosting its original 15.4 petaFLOP performance from last November. Sierra, LLNL’s classified system that went into production earlier this year, remained unchanged in the second spot at 94.6 petaflops.

“We are pleased with the results of the June 2019 TOP500 list, in which not only does Sierra continue to occupy the second position but also Lassen has risen to tenth,” said Bronis de Supinski, chief technical officer for Livermore Computing. “These successes demonstrate that LLNL’s strategy of both programmatic and institutional investments supports the complete range of applications required to meet our mission.”

The improved HPL score for Lassen was attributed to an upgrade on the system, according to a TOP500 press release. LLNL’s IBM/Blue Gene system Sequoia, which had been the 10th most powerful computer in the world in the previous list and is expected to be retired later this year, dropped to 13th.

LLNL Sequoia IBM Blue Gene Q petascale supercomputer

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Summit, also an IBM/NVIDIA supercomputer, maintained its top spot on the list and slightly improved its result from six months ago, delivering a record 148.6 petaFLOPS. Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Trinity, another Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration supercomputer, placed seventh at 20.2 petaFLOPS.

ORNL IBM AC922 SUMMIT supercomputer, No.1 on the TOP500. Credit: Carlos Jones, Oak Ridge National Laboratory/U.S. Dept. of Energy

The 53rd edition of the TOP500 marks a milestone. For the first time in the 26-year history of the list, all 500 systems on the list registered HCL benchmark scores of a petaFLOP or more. The benchmark reflects the performance of a dedicated system for solving a dense system of linear equations.

See the full article here .


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LLNL Campus

Operated by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is an American federal research facility in Livermore, California, United States, founded by the University of California, Berkeley in 1952. A Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), it is primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and managed and operated by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS), a partnership of the University of California, Bechtel, BWX Technologies, AECOM, and Battelle Memorial Institute in affiliation with the Texas A&M University System. In 2012, the laboratory had the synthetic chemical element livermorium named after it.
LLNL is self-described as “a premier research and development institution for science and technology applied to national security.” Its principal responsibility is ensuring the safety, security and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons through the application of advanced science, engineering and technology. The Laboratory also applies its special expertise and multidisciplinary capabilities to preventing the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction, bolstering homeland security and solving other nationally important problems, including energy and environmental security, basic science and economic competitiveness.

The Laboratory is located on a one-square-mile (2.6 km2) site at the eastern edge of Livermore. It also operates a 7,000 acres (28 km2) remote experimental test site, called Site 300, situated about 15 miles (24 km) southeast of the main lab site. LLNL has an annual budget of about $1.5 billion and a staff of roughly 5,800 employees.

LLNL was established in 1952 as the University of California Radiation Laboratory at Livermore, an offshoot of the existing UC Radiation Laboratory at Berkeley. It was intended to spur innovation and provide competition to the nuclear weapon design laboratory at Los Alamos in New Mexico, home of the Manhattan Project that developed the first atomic weapons. Edward Teller and Ernest Lawrence,[2] director of the Radiation Laboratory at Berkeley, are regarded as the co-founders of the Livermore facility.

The new laboratory was sited at a former naval air station of World War II. It was already home to several UC Radiation Laboratory projects that were too large for its location in the Berkeley Hills above the UC campus, including one of the first experiments in the magnetic approach to confined thermonuclear reactions (i.e. fusion). About half an hour southeast of Berkeley, the Livermore site provided much greater security for classified projects than an urban university campus.

Lawrence tapped 32-year-old Herbert York, a former graduate student of his, to run Livermore. Under York, the Lab had four main programs: Project Sherwood (the magnetic-fusion program), Project Whitney (the weapons-design program), diagnostic weapon experiments (both for the Los Alamos and Livermore laboratories), and a basic physics program. York and the new lab embraced the Lawrence “big science” approach, tackling challenging projects with physicists, chemists, engineers, and computational scientists working together in multidisciplinary teams. Lawrence died in August 1958 and shortly after, the university’s board of regents named both laboratories for him, as the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory.

Historically, the Berkeley and Livermore laboratories have had very close relationships on research projects, business operations, and staff. The Livermore Lab was established initially as a branch of the Berkeley laboratory. The Livermore lab was not officially severed administratively from the Berkeley lab until 1971. To this day, in official planning documents and records, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is designated as Site 100, Lawrence Livermore National Lab as Site 200, and LLNL’s remote test location as Site 300.[3]

The laboratory was renamed Lawrence Livermore Laboratory (LLL) in 1971. On October 1, 2007 LLNS assumed management of LLNL from the University of California, which had exclusively managed and operated the Laboratory since its inception 55 years before. The laboratory was honored in 2012 by having the synthetic chemical element livermorium named after it. The LLNS takeover of the laboratory has been controversial. In May 2013, an Alameda County jury awarded over $2.7 million to five former laboratory employees who were among 430 employees LLNS laid off during 2008.[4] The jury found that LLNS breached a contractual obligation to terminate the employees only for “reasonable cause.”[5] The five plaintiffs also have pending age discrimination claims against LLNS, which will be heard by a different jury in a separate trial.[6] There are 125 co-plaintiffs awaiting trial on similar claims against LLNS.[7] The May 2008 layoff was the first layoff at the laboratory in nearly 40 years.[6]

On March 14, 2011, the City of Livermore officially expanded the city’s boundaries to annex LLNL and move it within the city limits. The unanimous vote by the Livermore city council expanded Livermore’s southeastern boundaries to cover 15 land parcels covering 1,057 acres (4.28 km2) that comprise the LLNL site. The site was formerly an unincorporated area of Alameda County. The LLNL campus continues to be owned by the federal government.


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