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New supercomputer to reel in answers to some of Earth's problems
Date:7/27/2009

RICHLAND, Wash. -- The newest supercomputer in town is almost 15 times faster than its predecessor and ready to take on problems in areas such as climate science, hydrogen storage and molecular chemistry. The $21.4 million Chinook supercomputer was built by HP, tested by a variety of researchers, and has now been commissioned for use by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Department of Energy.

Housed at EMSL, DOE's Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory on the PNNL campus, Chinook can perform more than 160 trillion calculations per second, ranking it in the top 40 fastest computers in the world (see the Top 50). Its predecessor, EMSL's MPP2, could run 11.2 trillion calculations per second.

The Office of Biological and Environmental Research within DOE's Office of Science funded EMSL's supercomputer upgrade. Although housed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, scientists the world over can use Chinook, competing for time through a peer review process. Users generally conduct research that supports the DOE's missions in energy, the environment, or national security.

"When combined with EMSL's experimental capabilities, the new Chinook supercomputer will provide scientists from academia, national laboratories, and industry with an unprecedented research tool," said Anna Palmisano, DOE Associate Director for Biological and Environmental Research. "This new supercomputer will allow scientists to develop a molecular-level understanding of the complex biological, chemical and physical processes that underlie the environmental and energy challenges facing DOE and the nation."

Chinook is fast and dexterous. Its designers tailored its architecture to handle scientific problems whose complexity require more than just power or speed. For example, climate scientists who are trying to understand the tiniest particles in the atmosphere or chemists watching how atoms tug at each
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Contact: Mary Beckman
mary.beckman@pnl.gov
509-375-3688
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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