Inaugural IBM Blue Gene/P system to expand Argonne Leadership Computing Facility

June 26, 2007

Will enhance researchers' ability to conduct breakthrough science and engineering

ARGONNE, Ill. (June 26, 2007) — Argonne National Laboratory, IBM and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science announced today that IBM will soon ship its first external Blue Gene/P system to the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF). This state-of-the-art system will provide the computational science community with a leading computing capability dedicated to advancing knowledge and solving the most challenging scientific problems facing the nation, including predicting climate change or understanding complex biological systems.

"The Blue Gene/P and Argonne's Leadership Computing Facility will help accelerate innovation and revolutionize approaches to energy, environmental sustainability and global security challenges," said Michael Strayer, Associate Director of DOE's Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.

The addition of the Blue Gene/P system will expand the ALCF's computing capability and provide DOE's Leadership Computing Program with a 114-teraflops (114 trillion floating-point operations per second) production system for open science and engineering.

Blue Gene/P has a highly scalable torus network that can accommodate configurations with a petaflops of peak performance, as well as a high-performance collective network that minimizes the common bottleneck in simulations on large parallel computers.

The Blue Gene/P systems use lower power per teraflop than systems built around commodity microprocessors, resulting in greater energy efficiency and reduced operating costs.

Blue Gene applications use common languages and standards-based MPI communications tools, so a wide range of science and engineering applications are straightforward to port to the Blue Gene environment. Blue Gene/P is compatible with the diverse applications currently running on Blue Gene/L, including leading research in chemistry, combustion, astrophysics, genetics, materials science and turbulence.

The ALCF currently has a single-rack IBM Blue Gene/L system—the BG/L—the first in an IBM line that has the potential to reach petaflops capability by the end of this decade. IBM's Blue Gene/P incorporates many improvements to the highly successful Blue Gene/L design, which currently holds the LINPACK benchmark record. Blue Gene/P moves to faster quad-core processors, while scaling up network performance to maintain the outstanding balance of the Blue Gene series.

The ALCF plans to install a Blue Gene/P production system with 32,768 processors in fall 2007, along with a test and development system with 4,096 processors. The bulk of the production system will be used by researchers with projects in DOE's Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program. This program seeks computationally intensive research projects and is open to industry and to all scientific researchers and research organizations. These projects can make high-impact scientific advances through the use of a large allocation of computer time, resources and data storage, enabling greater insight into challenging problems.

Since April 2004, Argonne and IBM have jointly sponsored the international Blue Gene Consortium, a group of laboratory, university and industrial researchers interested in the evaluation and use of the IBM Blue Gene family of high-performance computers. The ALCF Blue Gene system will allow for continued investigation of this unique technology.
About DOE

DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the nation and helps ensure U.S. world leadership across a broad range of scientific disciplines. The Office of Science supports a diverse portfolio of research at more than 300 colleges and universities nationwide, manages 10 world-class national laboratories with unmatched capabilities for solving complex interdisciplinary scientific problems, and builds and operates the world's finest suite of scientific facilities and instruments used annually by more than 19,000 researchers to extend the frontiers of all areas of science. To advance scientific discovery, DOE supports a portfolio of national high-performance computing facilities housing some of the most advanced supercomputers.
About Argonne

With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne National Laboratory brings the world's brightest scientists and engineers together to find exciting and creative new solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America 's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.
About ALCF

The Leadership Computing Facility Division operates the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility — the ALCF — as part of DOE's effort to provide leadership-class computing resources to the scientific community. The mission of the ALCF, established in 2006, is to provide the computational science community with a leading computing capability dedicated to breakthrough science and engineering. The ALCF provides resources that make computationally intensive projects of the largest scales possible. ALCF staff members operate this facility for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science and also provide in-depth expertise and assistance in using ALCF systems and optimizing their applications. DOE selects major ALCF projects through the Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program. This program seeks computationally intensive research projects of large scale that can make high-impact scientific advances through the use of a large allocation of computer time, resources, and data storage.
About IBM

IBM is the world's largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key Business Partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions, and technologies that enable customers, large and small, to take full advantage of the new era of e-business. For more information about IBM, visit www.ibm.com.