The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a contract to Intel Corp. as prime contractor for two next-generation supercomputers to be installed at the Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago..
The contract is part of the DOE’s multimillion dollar initiative to build state-of-the-art supercomputers at Argonne, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories that will be five to seven times more powerful than today’s top supercomputers. DOE says the joint Collaboration of Oak Ridge, Argonne and Lawrence Livermore (CORAL) will help to advance U.S. leadership in scientific research and maintain its position at the forefront of next-generation exascale computing.
Intel was selected as the prime contractor and will work with Cray Inc. as the system integrator and manufacturer of these next-generation high-performance computing (HPC) systems. The largest system, to be called Aurora, is based on Intel’s HPC scalable system framework and will be a Cray “Shasta” supercomputer. The Aurora system will be delivered in 2018 and have a peak performance of 180 petaflops, making it the world’s most powerful system currently announced to date and 18 times more powerful than its predecessor, Mira, while utilizing only 2.7 times the energy usage.
Aurora is expected to include future generations of Intel Xeon Phi processors and the Intel Omni-Path Fabric high-speed interconnect technology, a new non-volatile memory architecture and advanced parallel file system storage using Intel Lustre software.
Research goals for the Aurora system include: more powerful, efficient and durable batteries and solar panels; improved biofuels and more effective disease control; improving transportation systems and enabling production of more highly efficient and quieter engines; and wind turbine design and placement for improved efficiency and reduced noise.
A second system, to be named Theta, will serve as an early production system for the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF). To be delivered in the 2016, the system will provide performance of 8.5 petaflops while requiring only 1.7 megawatts of power. The Theta system will be powered by Intel Xeon processors and next-generation Intel Xeon Phi processors, code-named Knights Landing, and will be based on the next-generation Cray XC supercomputer.