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PNNL's Olympus supercomputer advances science, saves energy

oop of water that absorbs the heat generated by Olympus as it crunches data.

The system is expected to use about 70 percent less energy than traditional computer cooling with air conditioning, which could save PNNL as much as $61,000 a year on Olympus' cooling costs.

Discovery through computation

Olympus is the heart of the new PNNL Institutional Computing program, which aims to advance scientific discovery through computational science. The cluster became fully operational in mid-October 2011 and it's already working on many PNNL research projects. Olympus is helping analyze how power grids of the future could operate and design better batteries for energy storage.

The system will also be used to improve computer models developed at PNNL, such as the NW Chem computational chemistry suite and STOMP, which simulates the movement of water and contaminants below ground. And PNNL is encouraging its scientists who may not normally use computation as part of their research to consider incorporating it in their next project with the help of the new system.

"High performance computing and simulation will be essential to future scientific discoveries. Olympus allows PNNL to be a player in that future," said Steven Ashby, PNNL's deputy director of science & technology. "It also will help us to nurture a culture of computational science that will enable our scientists and engineers to solve some of the most pressing problems facing the nation."

Olympus Fast Facts:

  • Theoretical peak processing speed of 162 Teraflops, meaning Olympus can complete computations as fast as about 20,000 typical personal computers combined.
  • 80 Gigabytes per second of disk bandwidth, meaning it can read and write information to a disk about 800 times faster than a typical personal computer.
  • 38.7 Terabytes of total memory, equaling the memory of about 10,000 typical personal computers combined.
  • 4 Petabyt

Contact: Franny White
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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