SOURCE: Cray Inc.

November 17, 2008 00:01 ET

Cray Supercomputer at Oak Ridge Smashes Sustained Petaflops Record

"Jaguar" Sets Historical Milestone Surpassing the Sustained Petaflops Speed Barrier on Two Scientific Applications

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - November 17, 2008) - Global supercomputer leader Cray Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAY) today announced the Cray XT supercomputer at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) set a new world record for computer speed with sustained performance of over a petaflops (quadrillion mathematical calculations per second) on two scientific applications. Sustained performance on real-world applications is the most critical measure of supercomputing performance. This allows scientists and engineers to dramatically increase the size, realism and complexity of simulations used to address fundamental scientific problems.

An ORNL research team recorded an unprecedented sustained performance of 1.35 petaflops on a superconductivity application used in nanotechnology and materials science research on the 1.64 petaflops system, nicknamed "Jaguar." The team's simulation ran on over 150,000 of Jaguar's 180,000-plus processing cores. The latest simulations on Jaguar were the first in which the team had enough computing power to move beyond ideal, perfectly ordered materials to the imperfect materials that typify the real world. Research into the nature of materials promises to revolutionize many areas of modern life, from power generation and transmission to transportation to the production of faster, smaller, more versatile computers and storage devices.

The petaflops barrier was broken on a second application with 1.05 petaflops of sustained performance. The new performance levels for this application, a first-principles material science computer model used to perform studies involving the interactions between a large number of atoms, are expected to support advancements in magnetic storage.

"Compute performance has a direct impact on our ability to tackle the greatest engineering and scientific challenges we face, resulting in the breakthroughs that change society," said Dr. Thomas Zacharia, Oak Ridge National Laboratory associate director for computing and computational sciences. "The scalability, reliability and upgradeability of the Cray XT4 have made Jaguar an increasingly powerful computing resource for our researchers and scientists. This upgrade will enable even greater achievements in today's most important areas of science."

Jaguar was recently upgraded to a peak 1.64 petaflops and is now the world's fastest supercomputer for open scientific computing. The upgrade represents a major milestone in a four-year project, begun in 2004, between DOE, ORNL and Cray. The new petaflops machine will make it possible to address some of the most challenging scientific problems in areas such as climate modeling, renewable energy, materials science, fusion and combustion. Annually, 80 percent of Jaguar's resources are allocated through DOE's Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program, a competitively selected, peer reviewed process open to researchers from universities, industry, government and non-profit organizations.

This marks the third successive major speed barrier broken by a Cray supercomputer. A Cray machine was first to achieve sustained gigaflops speed (one billion calculations per second) on a full 64-bit application in 1989, and another Cray computer broke the teraflops barrier (one trillion calculations per second) on a similar application in 1998.

"We congratulate the two application teams and Oak Ridge National Laboratory for shattering the petaflops performance barrier on these important scientific codes," said Cray CEO and President Peter Ungaro. "This milestone is a great reminder of what organizations can achieve when great determination and talent meet up with great supercomputing technology. On behalf of Cray, I'd also like to thank our major partners in building Jaguar, AMD and Data Direct Networks, for helping us achieve this historical milestone."

"It is only when we transcend the boundaries of what is considered possible that true technology advancements are achieved," said Alex Bouzari, CEO and Co-founder, Data Direct Networks. "We are proud to have partnered with Cray and AMD to help ORNL with this record-breaking accomplishment that will alter the future trajectory of supercomputing."

Jaguar uses over 45,000 of the latest quad-core AMD Opteron processors and features 362 terabytes of memory and a 10-petabye DDN file system. The computer has 578 terabytes per second of memory bandwidth and I/O bandwidth of 284 gigabytes per second. The current upgrade is the result of an addition of 200 Cray XT5 cabinets to the existing 84 cabinets of the Cray XT4 Jaguar system. During the third quarter of 2008, Cray successfully delivered all of the cabinets for the petaflops system to ORNL ahead of schedule. The upgraded system is now undergoing acceptance testing which is expected to conclude in late 2008 or early 2009.

Throughout its series of upgrades, Jaguar has maintained a consistent programming model for the users. This programming model allows users to continue to evolve their existing codes rather than write new ones. Applications that ran on previous versions of Jaguar can be recompiled, tuned for efficiency and then run on the new machine.

About Cray Inc.

As a global leader in supercomputing, Cray provides highly advanced supercomputers and world-class services and support to government, industry and academia. Cray technology enables scientists and engineers to achieve remarkable breakthroughs by accelerating performance, improving efficiency and extending the capabilities of their most demanding applications. Cray's Adaptive Supercomputing vision will result in innovative next-generation products that integrate diverse processing technologies into a unified architecture, allowing customers to surpass today's limitations and meeting the market's continued demand for realized performance. Go to for more information.

Cray is a registered trademark, and Cray XT, Cray XT4 and Cray XT5 are trademarks of Cray Inc. Other product and service names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

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