Green Supercomputing at Argonne

November 16, 2009

The Blue Gene/P green system and supporting data center is managed efficiently from the ground up. Blue Gene/P features a low-power, system-on-a-chip architecture and communications fabric that enables science applications to scale efficiently to the highest performance with less electricity. By increasing the system's parallelism and using more power-efficient voltages and clock speeds, Intrepid permits scientists to explore the universe with computation with but a trickle of electricity compared to alternative architectures. Scientists are conducting "green" research on the Blue Gene/P, such as GE Global Research's effort to reduce aerodynamic noise, which hinders the viability of next-generation low-emission aircraft propulsion.

"The ALCF seeks new ways to use extreme-scale supercomputers as a tool for scientific discovery. We pursue solutions to the nation's scientific challenges while simultaneously working to be the most environmentally responsible, efficient, computing resource available for science." Pete Beckman, Division Director

The energy-efficient Blue Gene/P uses about one-third as much electricity as a machine of comparable size built with more conventional parts. Of general-purpose, homogeneous architecture supercomputers, the Blue Gene/P is the most power efficient. By leveraging the Chicago area's cold winters to chill the cooling system water for free, the ALCF saves millions of dollars a year in electrical power compared to other similarly sized supercomputer centers.