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TechnologyCray to build El Capitan supercomputer for nuclear security apps

02:41  14 august  2019
02:41  14 august  2019 Source:   cnet.com

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Cray has been awarded a 0 million contract to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration, the US Department of Energy and the NNSA El Capitan will also focus on evolving threats to national security , nonproliferation and nuclear counterterrorism.

El Capitan will be created for the National Nuclear Security Administration and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, also serving the Los Alamos Cray is also developing two other exascale supercomputers for the DOE, for Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Cray has been awarded a $600 million contract to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration, the US Department of Energy and the NNSA announced Tuesday. Named El Capitan, the supercomputer will be the fastest known in the world and will help manage the US' nuclear stockpile. It's expected to go into production by late 2023.

Cray to build El Capitan supercomputer for nuclear security apps© CNET

A mockup of Cray's, El-Capitan, the NNSA's first exascale supercomputer.

Supercomputers are used for power-intensive programs like quantum physics, examining whether old nuclear weapons could still explode, forecasting global climate change effects, designing engines and aircraft, and reconstructing the history of the universe. The two highest-powered supercomputers are still Summit and Sierra, owned by IBM in the US, according to a June report from Top500, which ranks the highest-performing computer systems in the world twice a year.

$600M Cray supercomputer will tower above the rest — to build better nukes

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Supercomputer maker Cray has landed a 0 million contract to build the El Capitan exascale system in partnership with the US Department of Energy (DOE) El Capitan will be the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and will exclusively serve

Cray will build Uncle Sam's 1.5 exa-FLOPS El Capitan supercomputer for 0m, it was announced today. The monster system is expected to roll off the El Capitan will be used by the National Nuclear Security Administration, overseen by the US government's Department of Energy, to run "national

Sierra tops out at 125 petaflops, while El Capitan could run roughly 10 times faster, according to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It has a peak performance of more than 1.5 exaflops, or 1.5 quintillion calculations per second, and will be used for national nuclear security applications at more than 50 times the speed of LLNL's Sequoia system.

El Capitan is also projected to be at least four times more energy efficient than Sierra.

"El Capitan will allow us to be more responsive, innovative and forward-thinking when it comes to maintaining a nuclear deterrent that is second to none in a rapidly evolving threat environment," Lisa E Gordon-Hagerty, DOE Nuclear Security under secretary, said in a release.

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El Capitan will be the third “exascale” computer being built by Cray for the U.S. government, the other two Due for delivery in 2022, El Capitan will be operating on the order of 1.5 exaflops, or floating point operations per second, a measure of calculation often used to track supercomputer performance.

El Capitan will enable advanced simulation and modeling in order to support the US nuclear stockpile's reliability and security . HPE has picked AMD to help power the DOE's El Capitan supercomputer and the firm will apply its experience from the high-performance computing industry to the new system.

All those exaflops will be pressed into service for the Stockpile Stewardship Program, which supports US national security missions and monitoring the nation's nuclear stockpile in the absence of underground testing. El Capitan will also focus on evolving threats to national security, nonproliferation and nuclear counterterrorism.

Back in 2016, a report from the US government showed it still used a 1970s-era IBM Series/1 mainframe computer with 8-inch floppy drives to control its nuclear forces -- including intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers and tanker support aircraft.

Cray is in the process of being acquired by Hewlett Packard Enterprise for $1.3 billion.

Cray to build El Capitan supercomputer for nuclear security apps© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.
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