Feeds

World's mightiest supercomputer to design new nuke plants

Grail-hunting Jaguar unleashed

Boost IT visibility and business value

Nuclear supercomputer boffins in the States say they are unleashing the mighty power of the "Jaguar" - number one arse-kickingest computer in the world - to design the next generation of nuclear reactors, including the ITER fusion project.

John Wagner, Technical Integration Manager for Nuclear Modelling at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, says that the power of the Jaguar allows his team to tackle "problems that were previously unthinkable or impractical in terms of the computing power required". The mighty machine edged out the rival "Roadrunner" in the most recent Top500 rankings, cranking a blistering 1.75 petaflops.

"We're now simulating entire nuclear facilities, such as a nuclear power reactor facility with its auxiliary buildings and the ITER fusion reactor, with much greater accuracy than any other organization that we're aware of," boasts Wagner.

The ITER reactor project, it is hoped among nuke boffins, may finally unlock the secrets of controlled nuclear fusion and so end the energy problems of the human race forever. Nuclear fusion is understandably often referred to as the "holy grail" of modern science and technology.

Doing sims on the 224,000-core Jaguar is no simple matter, though. Wagner's crew have been forced to develop new software for the job, dubbed Denovo (roughly "from scratch").

"At first we tried adapting older software to the task, but we abandoned that idea pretty quickly," says nuke boffin and Denovo creator Tom Evans.

"Software for modeling radiation transport has been around for a long time," he adds, "but it hadn't been adapted to build on developments that have revolutionized computational science. There's no special transformational technology in this software; but it's designed specifically to take advantage of the massive computational and memory capabilities of the world's fastest computers."

Wagner and Evans are chuffed to announce that they have been awarded eight million processor hours on Jaguar for the purpose of running Denovo to develop a "uniquely detailed simulation of the power distribution inside a nuclear reactor core". This is expected to cut years off the process of designing new and better reactors.

The announcement from Oak Ridge lab is here. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.