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Livermore Powerful New Supercomputer – Santa Cruz Sentinel

LIVERMORE – Suddenly your smart phone is very stupid. Meet Sierra, Lawrence Livermore National Lab's new supercomputer that can perform…

LIVERMORE – Suddenly your smart phone is very stupid.

Meet Sierra, Lawrence Livermore National Lab’s new supercomputer that can perform 125 quadrillion calculations per second – think 125 followed by 15 zeros – and protect our nation’s nuclear inventory.

To match it, every person on earth would have to make a calculation every second, 24 hours a day – for a whole year.

Unveiled Friday, the $ 150 million Sierra gives US bargaining rights to two of the top three positions in global supercomputing. The new machine is behind the Oak Ridge National Labs Summit and China’s Sunway TaihuLight.

It’s not just powerful, it has a wonderful memory. There is enough storage space to keep every written work of humanity, in all languages ​​- twice.

“But it’s not that big or where it’s located, it’s science it’s going to support,” said Bronis de Supinski, Livermore Computing Officer and Head of Livermore Lab’s Advanced Technology System.

Sierra was thought of a hotel room near Chicago’s Hare Airport at the end of 201

2, in a US Department of Energy collaboration between Livermore, Oak Ridge and Argonne. However, during its four years of construction, the project met logistical heights, technical challenges and a great surprise: the growing cost of memory, linked to the global demand for smart phones. It caused prices to double over the last three months of 2016, “said Supinski. After negotiations, IBM has made changes to its network to compensate and keep the project on budget.

Despite our progress, the National Security Agency and the Department of Energy have warned that China is ready to eradicate America in high-performance computers. 19659002] Built by IBM and NVIDIA, Sierra is intended to support the country’s three nuclear laboratories: Lawrence Livermore, Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamo’s National Laboratory.

And this support is critical. As North Korea continues to run nuclear technology, our system is increasing. Not even a bike is designed to be idle for decades and can still come into action in a moment. But that’s what is expected of a nuclear weapon.

How would a hair tip crack, for example, affect the life of a nuclear weapon? Without detonation, Sierra helps us find out. It can process the data needed to create a 3D image, modeling and simulate a growing fracture in the deadly device.

“It allows simulations 100,000 times more realistic than possible on a desktop,” said Fred Streitz, director of Labs Institute of Scientific Computer Research.

Bruce Hendrickson, deputy director of the lab at Lab, said the project has come a long time. He said that the new supercomputer will open up new scientific opportunities for a project – massively or minimally. “

” It talks about this as a computer saying that the Sistine Chapel’s roof is covered in color, “says Hendrickson.” A better analogy would be the Hubble Space Telescope. “

But Sierra is less wonderful than its name, with flashing green lights instead of romantic peaks. Cooling fans release a dull noise from their black refrigerator sizes, packed into a windowless 6,000 square foot floor area – the size of two tennis courts – inside a bare tan.

weighs up to 40 elephants required to the floor would be structurally reinforced. It is also seismically protected, sitting on tiles shifts in response to earthquakes. It spends 12 million watts power, equivalent to 9000 homes – and is so hot that it must be cooled not only by air fans without 3,500 gallons circulating water every minute.

The Sierra’s rooms are protected by frequent security. First, you need to get through Lab’s infamous fast release ring, and then enter a secret code to the door. Friday’s vast visitors were politely hardened as a dense group and could only look out from the farms.

Supercomputing has come a long way since the Kansas City National Security Campus made history in 1964 by installing a brand new hard drive that could store 95,000 city’s short-lived data, or about 7.6 megabytes.

Sierra is powerful because it is a so-called heterogeneous supercomputer that can move data between a high-speed connection that links its central processors (CPUs) and graphics processing devices (GPUs).

Supercomputers may seem superfluous in this era of cloud computing and massive data centers. But the toughest computing problems require speed of giant machines – and the country’s leaders are not willing to rely on our best data to private commercial companies, no matter how much they promise to keep security, says Supinski.

Supercomputers can also help science, medicine, energy and climate change. Its simulations allow researchers to conduct research in genetics, cell structure and atmospheric fluctuations that were previously impractical or impossible.

Sierra is short-lived, with a lifespan of five or six years, Supinski.

Eventually, it will also seem suddenly slow because the next computer limit – known as exascale machines – will exceed a billion-billion billions – calculations every second.

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