Friday, May 16, 2008

News from Los Alamos National Laboratory for May 12 - 16

In Pictures: A look inside what may be
the world's faste
st supercomputer

New Roadrunner is expected to break the petaflop barrier when tested later this month

Taking up 6,000 square feet and weighing in at 500,000 pounds, the latest version of the IBM Ro
adrunner supercomputer is nearly complete. Engineers and technicians are in the process of finishing its assembly and expect to begin running tests within a few weeks to gauge its performance, according to Don Grice, chief engineer on the Roadrunner project. Grice said he is highly confident that the new system will break the petaflop barrier, which is akin to the four-minute mile of supercomputing. See the story here.

IBM close to breaking
petaflops barrier

Los Alamos effort got extension to
Top 500 deadline

IBM Corp. and the Los Alamos National Laboratory are in a race with time to break the petaflops barrier in computing. If they succeed, the milestone would give major bragging rights for both organizations. "It will be quite exciting if they are able to hit that mark, but it's still unclear if they can do it," said Jack Dongarra, a professor at the University of Tennessee who helps manage the Top 500 list of the world's most powerful computers. Read more here.

IBM Unsheathes
New Cell Blade

Earlier today IBM announced the new BladeCenter QS22, a new blade server that incorporates the latest Cell processor, the PowerXCell 8i. While the new name might not exactly roll off your tongue, IBM has managed to address one of the Cell's major technical shortcomings (at least for the HPC crowd), namely much better double precision floating point performance. The QS22 hardware will end up in the third phase of the "Roadrunner" supercomputer installation at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Each compute node in the Roadrunner cluster is made up of two dual-core Opteron dual-core processors and four Cell processors. The final result will be a petaflop machine that is capable of some of the most advanced nuclear weapons simulation work done under the direction of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Get the whole story here.

UNM-Los Alamos Develops High-Tech Degree

Northern New Mexico has a pressing need for skilled technicians in a variety of fields, according to a labor market assessment conducted by UNM-Los Alamos over the past year. To meet that demand, the branch is developing a new Associate of Applied Science in Applied Technologies. Los Alamos National Laboratory has committed to support the program with a seven-year, $70
0,000 grant. See UNM Today here.

Pursuit of knowledge has no end

Anastasio gives commencement address at Northern

Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio encouraged more than 200 graduates at Northern New Mexico College to continue their pursuit of knowledge and to take on challenges as they begin the next stage of their lives. Anastasio delivered the keynote address at Northern's commencement ceremony last Saturday in Eagle Memorial Gymnasium on the college's campus in EspaƱola. Ready the Daily NewsBulletin daily!

Wallace testifies in Senate on climate change impacts

Terry Wallace, principal associate director for Science, Technology, and Engineering (PADSTE), testified this morning before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources regarding the Laboratory’s efforts to develop tools for understanding and mitigating the consequences of global climate change and the growing demand for energy. The Senate Committee is examining the impacts of climate change on the reliability, security, economics, and design of critical energy infrastructure in coastal regions. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 7:45 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time (MDT). Click here to read Wallace's prepared remarks to the committee.

Latest issue of 1663 now available

This issue provides an in-depth introduction to Roadrunner, which merges two different types of microprocessors into a computing system that will allow Lab scientists to enhance their understanding of everything from HIV vaccine development to nuclear weapons physics. In a related vein, 1663 provides an in-depth look at the Monte Carlo N-Particle (MCNP) code developed at Los Alamos. The code can help doctors calculate how many gamma-ray photons will be absorbed by cancer cells during radiation therapy just as easily as it can help wildcatters predict the best locations to drill for oil. Also in this issue, read about the Los Alamos Pulsed Field Facility, also known as the Magnet Lab, which is a part of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. The facility is essential for scientists wishing to investigate new and exotic materials, including researchers trying to decipher the mysteries of high-temperature superconductors. Enjoy the May issue of 1663 here.

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