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Defense-scale supercomputing comes to alternative energy research
Date:4/27/2010

ating them in the first place."

In addition to its "green" targets, Red Mesa's operational innovations make it a kind of "green" machine, Sandia manager John Zepper said.

Innovating on the newest technology, the team dramatically improved Red Mesa's efficiency compared with other supercomputers. A first-of-its-kind innovation is the Glacier Door a door capping each cabinet that keeps cooling mechanisms within a few inches of the heat source. With the improved system, air exiting the array of supercomputer cabinets is actually slightly cooler than when it came in.

Other improvements included a better electrical power distribution system that allowed for easier installation and removal of electrical wiring. The Red Mesa machine is configured with an all-optical connector-based Infiniband network.

"Our changes, both in software and hardware, will save millions of dollars over the life of this machine," said Zepper.

These changes only came about, noted Rob Leland, director of Sandia's Computations, Computers and Math center, because "vendors were willing to take technical and economic risks that permitted us to deploy a dozen significant innovations. This combination of off-the-shelf technology and accompanying innovations represented quite a big risk and vendors were willing to go on this journey with us because they saw strategic value to their business. This innovative approach delivers great value to the taxpayer."

Oracle, prime contractor to Red Mesa, is introducing the same innovations in smaller Oracle machines.

Margie Tatro, director of Sandia's Energy Systems Center, said, "I want to thank DOE, as well as the urgency and relevancy of our partners in the private sector, for helping Sandia and NREL overcome obstacles and make this happen."


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Contact: Neal Singer
nsinger@sandia.gov
505-845-7078
DOE/Sandia National Laboratories
Source:Eurekalert  

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