Thursday, October 23, 2014 Headlines & Global News

Cray Receives $174 Million Contract From Government to Build Supercomputer for Nuclear Program

By Julie S julie.s@hngn.com | Jul 14, 2014 11:56 AM EDT

Cray Awarded $174 Million Contract from Government to Build Supercomputer for Nuclear Program
CRAY-1 (no longer used, of course) displayed in the hallways of the EPFL in Lausanne. (Photo : Rama/Wikimedia)

Cray Inc. was awarded a $174 million contract by the U.S. government to build a supercomputer that will be used to protect and monitor the country's nuclear resources.

The contract between Cray and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) was announced on July 10. The Seattle-based supercomputer manufacturer will be creating Trinity, a next-generation XC supercomputer complete with a Sonexion storage system. The supercomputer will be housed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Monitoring and maintenance of the supercomputer will also be provided by the Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

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According to company officials, Trinity will be equipped with Xeon and Xeon Phi processors created by Intel. President and CEO of Cray Peter Ungrao explained their collaborations with the NNSA assisted the company with the development of their supercomputer, including the Red Storm project in 2005.

Shortly after its release, the Red Storm landed second place on the Top 500 List of the fastest supercomputers from around the world.

"The NNSA has consistently deployed the world's most advanced supercomputing systems to support their critical mission of ensuring the health of our nation's nuclear stockpile," Ungaro stated.

Trinity will be primarily used for calculations and simulations in the United States' current nuclear program. Most of the work for this supercomputer will be completed by 2016.

The new supercomputer will be powered by Haswell processors as the Knights Landing chips from the Xeon Phi. The Knights Landing, which was released shortly after the Knights Corner, was used alongside Corner as alternative chips to GPU accelerators utilized by Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia.

To cater to the new supercomputer, Intel started developing and improving the Knight Landings chips. The 14-nanometer chips will be ready by the end of 2015, and are expected to perform three times as fast as the current Xeon Phi chips.

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