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DOE Labs Take Pride in Award-Winning IBM Blue Gene Series
Date:10/7/2009

national security.

"Blue Gene balances energy efficiencies with a major breakthrough in scalability, which is imperative to attack problems in science and engineering at unprecedented scale and speed," said Pete Beckman, director of Argonne's Leadership Computing Facility, home to the first large Blue Gene/P.

The Blue Gene leverages a high-performance, low-power, system-on-a-chip architecture offering extreme integration that dramatically improves reliability, increases energy efficiency and reduces operating costs.

"The Blue Gene architecture has greatly enhanced the National Nuclear Security Administration's capability for predictive simulation and uncertainty quantification," said Mark Seager, Asst. Dept. Head for Advanced Computing Technology at LLNL.

Much of the software needed to operate Blue Gene comes from the open source community and was developed by laboratories and universities around the world. Argonne was actively involved in fostering that community as well as developing key components of the system software. For example, the Blue Gene leverages Argonne's MPICH, the version of the Message Passing Interface that scientists use to write parallel programs capable of scaling to hundreds of thousands of CPU cores. Computer scientists are also working on extending the capabilities of Blue Gene with advanced math libraries, improved parallel file systems, and even experimental operating systems such as ZeptoOS, which permits users to run Linux on the Blue Gene's compute nodes.

Another critical aspect of the Blue Gene's success was ensuring the platform was adopted by the high-performance computing community. In 2004, Argonne and IBM jointly created the Blue Gene Consortium, an international group of laboratory, university and industrial researchers collaborating to evaluate the technology and platform and provide critical feedback for future Blue Gene designs.

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