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Science at the Petascale: Roadrunner Results Unveiled

Los Alamos National Laboratory News (10/26/09) Roark, Kevin N.

Roadrunner, housed at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), recently completed its initial shakedown phase while performing accelerated petascale computer modeling and simulations for several unclassified science projects. The completion of the shakedown will allow Roadrunner, the world’s fastest supercomputer, to begin its transition to classified computing. Scientists used the 10 unclassified projects to optimize how large codes run on the machine. The 10 test projects were chosen from academic and research institutions across the United States. Some of the projects include research into dark matter and dark energy, creating a HIV evolutionary tree to help researchers focus on potential vaccines, nonlinear physics in high-powered lasers, modeling minuscule nanowires over long time periods, and exploring how shock waves cause materials to fail. Roadrunner, developed by IBM along with LANL and the National Nuclear Security Administration, uses a hybrid design to achieve its record-setting performance. Each compute node in a cluster contains two AMD Opteron dual-core processors and four PowerXCell 8i processors that act as computational accelerators. Roadrunner will now be used to perform classified advanced physics and predictive simulations.

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