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NEWS MEDIA CONTACTs:
Jeff Sherwood (DOE), 202/586-5806
Ron Walli (ORNL), 865/576-0226
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 15, 2002
Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Lab to
Test New Cray Supercomputer for U.S. Science
OAK RIDGE, TENN. - The Department of Energy today announced that its Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has been selected to test the effectiveness of a new Cray Inc. supercomputer architecture in solving important scientific problems in climate, fusion, biology, nanoscale materials and astrophysics.
"This program is one of the first steps in an initiative designed to provide U.S. scientists with the computational power that is essential to 21st century scientific leadership," said Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, director of the department's Office of Science. The program is part of an effort to provide the U.S. scientific community with computing resources to match or exceed those of the new Japanese "Earth Simulator," which has an effective speed more than 20 times that of the fastest U.S. civilian supercomputer. Dr. Orbach made the announcement following an annual, onsite review of the laboratory.
Under the program, ORNL will acquire a 32-processor Cray X1 supercomputer system. Contract negotiations are expected to be completed within about one month. The lab's Center for Computational Sciences and Cray will evaluate the processors, memory and scalability of the design and software environment of the system to determine its suitability for the solution of complex scientific problems. The Cray X1 system, currently in development, is the first U.S. computer to offer vector processing and massively parallel processing capabilities in a single architecture. It is designed to scale to deliver performance for scientific applications greater than the performance of currently available U.S. computers. Japan's Earth Simulator computer also employs an advanced vector processing design.
"Oak Ridge National Laboratory is proud to be part of this extraordinarily important initiative," said ORNL director Bill Madia. "We are committed to working with Cray and the scientific community to make this initiative a success." The lab's Center for Computational Sciences was established in 1991 to evaluate new computer architectures for science.
"We are excited at the prospect of providing the next generation supercomputer to help solve the most demanding classes of scientific and engineering problems," said James Rottsolk, Cray Chairman and CEO. "We are pleased to enter into collaboration with the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in this important endeavor."