IBM Successfully Delivers ASC Purple Milestone Demonstration On Time

Power-Based System Exceeds Expected Performance

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ARMONK, NY - 22 Jul 2005: IBM today announced that ASC Purple, a system to be dedicated to a critical national security mission, was demonstrated on time and exceeded performance objectives in a recent milestone test. IBM plans to deliver the system to LLNL in August, with acceptance testing scheduled for October 2005. LLNL plans for ASC Purple to be housed in the recently completed Terascale Simulation Facility (TSF).

ASC Purple is the result a long tern collaboration effort between the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administrations ((DOE/NNSA) Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program (historically known as ASCI, now ASC) and IBM, with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as the lead Laboratory. The ASC Purple contract, announced by the Secretary of Energy in November 2002, scheduled the demonstration of the Purple system in late June.

LLNL indicates that the Purple machine will conduct simulations of nuclear weapons performance critical to NNSA's program to ensure the safety, security and reliability of the nation's aging nuclear deterrent without underground nuclear testing stockpile stewardship. ASC is a tri-Laboratory program including Sandia, Los Alamos and Livermore National Laboratories.

While performing the demonstration calculations, Purple surpassed its performance objective by 10 percent. The demonstration included two Marquee applications, sPPM (turbulent hydrodynamics) and UMT2000 (unstructured mesh radiation transport), executed on the world's largest cluster of P5-p575 nodes. Each p575 is powered by 8 Power5 microprocessors running at 1.9 GHz and is configured with 32 GB of memory. The Purple demonstration system consists of 1,280 servers interconnected with two planes of the pSeries High Performance Switch (HPS). Another 250 servers of Purple are already serving the ASC program in classified operations at LLNL and another 108 servers of Purple are serving the ASC program in unclassified operations at LLNL.

The successful demonstration required that the system achieve a performance standard equal to the theoretical peak performance of the 1,280 node Purple cluster plus a combined 30 percent sustained performance relative to peak on the two Marquee codes. In fact, the performance requirement of 101 teraFLOP/s, trillion floating-point operations per second (77.8 TeraOps peak plus 23.2 sustained) was exceeded when the performance standard of 111 teraFLOP/s was achieved on June 23.

"This better than expected performance result represents a lot of work by many people working in partnership over many years," said Mark Seager, LLNL leader for new computing technology. "Purple delivers the entry level computing power required for the full weapon system simulation capability the ASC program needs to fulfill its vital Stockpile Stewardship mission."

Additionally, the Linpack benchmark code was executed on 1,185 nodes of the Purple cluster and reached 84% of peak performance, or 60.490 teraFLOP/s (Rmax). This performance would place the ASC Purple system in 3rd place on the current TOP500 list, behind the two IBM BG/L systems.

"ASC Purple clearly demonstrates the impact of leadership IBM technology on an extraordinary scale," said Adalio Sanchez, general manager, IBM eServer pSeries. "The IBM investment in the Power Architecture to achieve unparalleled supercomputing innovation enables systems such as ASC Purple to exceed all expectations."

"The NNSA - Lawrence Livermore - IBM partnership has always found a way to do what others believed couldn't be done," said Dion Rudnicki, IBM Vice President, Federal Civilian Agencies. "This is an enormously talented group of men and women, galvanized by years of commitment to this program. I'm very proud to be associated with them."

LLNL indicates that when the ASC Program was initiated, ten years ago, the goal was to deploy a 100 teraFLOP/s capability class system and that at ASC program inception, the assertion of the community of nuclear scientists responsible for Stockpile Stewardship was that a system of at least 100 teraFLOP/s would be needed in order to deliver an initial "entry level" computational power to perform full system, full physics, high resolution calculations of nuclear weapons systems in support of the Stockpile Stewardship mission. The journey involved multiple intermediate system deployments. ASC Purple represents on-time demonstration of the original 100 teraFLOP/s ASCI program goal set in 1995. However, this is not the end of the ASC story as LLNL indicates that mission requirements are now pushing ASC to the petaFLOP/s level and beyond.

The ASC program accelerated the United States computer industry's effort to meet the 100 teraFLOP/s goal in the 2004/2005 timeframe. With this IBM contract, the NNSA/ASC program is poised to meet this goal as planned. This contract has multiple deliveries of hardware to Livermore, of which Purple and BlueGene/L are the two major components. Purple is the 100-teraFLOP/s (1.0×1014 or one hundred trillion floating-point operations per second) system.

The long road to the 100 teraFLOP/s capability has taken the IBM, DOE/NNSA partnership about ten years to accomplish over three separate contracts and the delivery of seven separate systems based on Power and PowerPC technology, starting with the Blue-Pacific Initial Delivery system at 136 gigaFLOP/s in 1996, then the Blue-PacificTechnology Refresh delivery of 895 gigaFLOP/s in 1997 and the Blue-Pacific Sustained Stewardship TeraFLOP/s delivery of 3. 9 teraFLOP/s in 1998. That machine exceeded the performance requirements by 20% and was delivered three months early. The ASC White platform at 12.3 teraFLOP/s was delivered in 2000 and exceed the performance requirements by 23%. Then pEDTV at 12.3 teraFLOP/s delivered in 2003. Finally the Purple and BlueGene/L machines delivered in 2005 round out the partnership at a combined 460 teraFLOP/s. This is an astonishing set of accomplishments in support of US National Security that represents an unmatched commitment by IBM to high-performance computing.