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PNNL's Olympus supercomputer advances science, saves energy
Date:1/17/2012

RICHLAND, Wash. A new, 162-Teraflop peak supercomputer at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is helping scientists do more complex, advanced research in areas such as energy storage and future power grid development. It also uses less energy than similar computers because of its unique water cooling system.

With the ability to compute as fast as about 20,000 typical personal computers combined, the Olympus supercomputer is the first large-scale computer exclusively available to PNNL researchers and their collaborators.

"Taking a cue from Washington state's Mount Olympus, this computer is enabling PNNL scientists to reach new scientific heights and at a low cost," said Kevin Regimbal, director of the new PNNL Institutional Computing program. "PNNL has pooled its resources in a tough economy to build the best possible computational resource that will enable new scientific discoveries."

Before, PNNL research staff purchased smaller computer systems for their specific research project needs, but the size and power of those systems were limited to individual project budgets. Now PNNL research projects can use Olympus.

"PNNL is getting more computer power for its investment, since costs are reduced when we purchase components in large volumes," Regimbal said. The system's larger size also allows scientists to complete significantly more complex calculations, which help them dig deeper into their research areas, he added.

The initial purchase and installation of Olympus cost $4.4 million. About $3.9 million of that came from internal lab funding for general computing capabilities, while $500,000 came from individual PNNL research projects that invested in specific capabilities needed for their work.

Energy-efficient cooling

Unlike other large-scale computers, Olympus doesn't use air conditioning to remain cool. Instead, it uses water. The novel system uses a closed l
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Contact: Franny White
franny.white@pnnl.gov
509-375-6904
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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