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Pnnl's Olympus Supercomputer Advances Science, Saves Energy

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PNNL's Kevin Regimbal

PNNL built "the best possible computational resource that will enable new scientific discoveries," Kevin Regimbal, director of the PNNL Institutional Computing program, says of the Olympus supercomputer, shown at right.

Credit: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) recently launched the 162-teraflop peak Olympus supercomputer, which is helping scientists do more complex, advanced research. Olympus uses less energy than similar supercomputers due to its water-fed cooling system. "PNNL has pooled its resources in a tough economy to build the best possible computational resource that will enable new scientific discoveries," says PNNL's Kevin Regimbal. He says the system's size enables scientists to complete significantly more complex calculations.

Olympus relies on a closed loop of water that absorbs the heat generated by the supercomputer as it analyzes data to remain cool. The system is expected to use about 70 percent less energy than a traditional computer cooled with air conditioning, which could save PNNL as much as $61,000 a year.

Olympus will be used to improve computer models developed at PNNL, such as the NW Chem computational chemistry suite and STOMP, which simulates the movement of water and contaminants below ground. "It also will help us to nurture a culture of computational science that will enable our scientists and engineers to solve some of the most pressing problems facing the nation," says PNNL's Steven Ashby.

From Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
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