Oak Ridge National Lab Selects IBM eServer Supercomputer for Global Warming Research

POWER4-based System Addresses Need in the U.S. for Powerful Supercomputer to Investigate Earth's Climate

Select a topic or year

OAK RIDGE, Tenn - 30 Aug 2001: - IBM today announced that Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will install a powerful new IBM eServer[1] supercomputer for scientific research that promises to significantly improve the U.S. government's ability to predict long-range climate trends as well as tackle a wide spectrum of other scientific projects. The design of the IBM system opens new frontiers in computational science, advancing many areas of investigation and helping researchers understand how global warming may affect agricultural output and water supply levels.

"Leadership in high performance computing and computational sciences is a hallmark goal of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and is critical to the lab's science and technology agenda," said Bill Madia, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "The new IBM 4TFlops machine will have a significant impact in our ability to excel in advanced open scientific computing."

The machine will incorporate IBM eServer POWER4 technology to achieve a targetpeak performance level offour trillion calculations per second. Nearly tripling the amount of processing power in ORNL's data centers, the IBM system is expected to rank among the world's five most powerful supercomputers when completed in early 2002. POWER4 is the advanced microprocessor that powers the next generation of IBM eServer UNIX[2] systems -- code-named "Regatta" -- which are scheduled to begin shipping later this year.

"We are excited about the opportunity for the Department of Energy and the national laboratories to work with NSF and NASA to accelerate the development and performance of the Community Climate System Model," said Bob Malone, leader of the Climate, Ocean and Sea Ice Modeling project at Los Alamos National Laboratory. "The project will provide better tools to understand the potential for climate change and to access the impacts on society."

The machine strengthens ORNL's role as a major resource for the Department of Energy's Scientific Discovery Through Advanced Computing Program (SciDAC). Most notably, the ORNL supercomputer will be used to investigate extremely sophisticated computer models that simulate the world's climate. These computer models -- containing hundreds of thousands of lines of code -- will predict the potential impact that increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could have on crop yields, public drinking water supplies and ocean levels. Many scientists believe that greenhouse gases -- emissions from automobiles and smokestacks, for example -- are a major contributor to global warming. Other SciDAC areas expected to benefit include computational chemistry, high energy and nuclear physics and fusion energy research.

"One of the world's most prestigious research organizations, Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a pioneer in the use of supercomputers to address important scientific problems in climate research, genomics and materials sciences," said Surjit Chana, IBM vice president of high performance computing. "We are very proud to provide this powerful IBM system for such groundbreaking research into some of the most challenging questions of our time."

POWER4 System

Designed to provide industry-leading performance for both commercial and technical workloads, POWER4-based systems will feature groundbreaking new technology, such as massive bandwidth, increased scalability, and the world's first computer chip featuring two microprocessors.

ORNL is a DOE multiprogram research facility managed by UT-Battelle.

For more information on IBM supercomputers, please visit www.ibm.com/servers/hpc.

# # #

[1] The IBM eServer brand consists of the established IBM e-business logo with the following descriptive term "server" following it.

[2]UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries licensed exclusively through The Open Group.