Cray Signs $40 Million Supercomputer Agreement with NERSC

Cray has announced it will install a next-generation Cray supercomputer code-named "Cascade" and a next-generation Cray Sonexion storage system at the Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC). Cray's Cascade system will provide an innovative supercomputing resource to NERSC users working to advance open science research in climate modeling, biology, environmental sciences, combustion, materials science, chemistry, geosciences, fusion energy, astrophysics, nuclear and high-energy physics, and other disciplines, along with scientific visualization of massive data sets. NERSC is also home to a Cray XE6 supercomputer, named "Hopper."

"From energy efficient batteries to climate change, NERSC's 4,500 users are tackling problems that are of vital importance to our nation's competiveness and sustainability, so it is critical that our next system NERSC-7, deliver readily accessible performance on real-world applications," says Kathy Yelick, Associate Laboratory Director of Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab.

According to Yelick, it is also important that NERSC provide supercomputing resources to users in an energy efficient manner, and she says the new Cray system will enable many pioneering features on this front, including the ability to run year-round using "free-cooling" at the NERSC site. "This approach utilizes water from cooling towers only, not mechanical chillers, to provide exceptional energy efficiency. The moderate Bay Area climate combined with Cray's new design will allow us to keep power for cooling to less than 10 percent of the power used for computing," said Jeff Broughton, head of NERSC's System's Department.

"The researchers and scientists at NERSC are tackling an amazing set of important challenges across a wide range of scientific disciplines, and we are incredibly honored to provide their vast user community with a productive environment that also delivers high sustained performance," said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray. "Our development team has been busy working on our future products and we are very excited to see that the new innovations in our next generation of supercomputers and storage solutions are meeting the needs of leading customers such as NERSC. They are a great partner, and we are excited that our relationship with them will continue."

Cray's next-generation Cascade supercomputer, which is expected to be widely available in the first half of 2013, is the next step in Cray's Adaptive Supercomputing vision. The system will provide over two petaflops of peak performance for NERSC. The system will feature major advancements of the Cray Linux Environment, Cray's HPC-optimized programming environment, and the next-generation Aries interconnect chipset. Cascade also will feature support for Intel Xeon processors — a first for Cray's high-end systems. The Cascade supercomputer is in part made possible by Cray's participation in the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's (DARPA) High Productivity Computing Systems program.

The Cray Sonexion storage system delivered to NERSC will scale to more than six petabytes of usable storage and more 140 gigabytes per second of sustained aggregate IO performance. Sonexion brings together an integrated file system, software and storage offering that has been designed specifically for a wide range of HPC workloads, providing users with an integrated, scalable Lustre solution that is easy to install and maintain. Cray's Sonexion storage system combines powerful servers, the latest Lustre parallel file system and efficient management software into a modular and scalable storage product that is tested at scale, and supported as a complete solution by Cray.

Consisting of products and services, the multi-year, multi-phase procurement is valued at more than $40 million. The system is expected to go into production in 2013.