Editor’s note: This
article was written by Michael
Rosenfield, IBM Research’s director of Deep Computing Systems.
IBM’s Blue Gene/Q supercomputer,
Sequoia, at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab took the number one ranking in
list of the world’s fastest machines. And 21 other Blue Gene/Q configurations
also earned spots on the list – including four in the top 10. Quite an
achievement, given that IBM only started shipping these systems in volume to
clients earlier this year.
What’s inside Sequoia?
is a Blue Gene/Q supercomputer built on IBM Power architecture. It consists of 96 racks; 98,304 compute nodes; 1.6 million cores; and 1.6 petabytes of memory.
to its predecessors, it is 90 times more powerful than ASC Purple, and eight
times more powerful than BlueGene/L, relative to the peak speeds of these
The Sequoia system used by Lawrence Livermore
(LLNL) can reach over 16 sustained petaflops – just one petaflop
runs 1015 floating-point operations per second! With this power, Sequoia will
soon be used to simulate phenomena such as uncertainty quantification (the
quantitative characterization and reduction of uncertainty in outcome scenarios
across the natural sciences and engineering), hydrodynamics, and the physical properties
of materials at extreme pressures and temperatures.
Today, the National Nuclear Security Administration uses
Sequoia to research the safety, security and reliability of the United States’
nuclear deterrent – replacing the need for underground testing.
Argonne National Lab's (ANL) Blue Gene/Q-based system Mira
is the third-fastest system in the world. Mira is being used to significantly
advance science and industry. In science, ANL’s exploration ranges from
studying the evolution of our universe to simulating the strong force of
subatomic particles. In industry, ANL is working to design more-efficient
electric car batteries; understand global climate change; design fast neutron reactors
capable of eliminating nuclear waste, and decipher the complexities of the
Researchers across academia, government and industry from
around the world access Mira through blocks of compute time awarded via the
peer-reviewed, competitive INCITE
Blue Gene is not only being adopted by our partners at the national
labs, but also by our industry partners. For example, Électricité de France, the world's largest
utility company, uses the Blue Gene/Q that ranked #40 in the TOP500 to better manage operations
for its electricity generation and distribution business.
The Blue Gene/Q project has been supported and partially
funded by the Argonne and Livermore labs on behalf of the United States
Department of Energy. In addition IBM gratefully acknowledges the collaboration
with Columbia University and Edinburgh University, which also participated in
top-ranked system, LLNL's Sequoia Blue Gene/Q can reach 16.32 Petaflops
has four other supercomputers in the Top 10:
ANL-Mira Blue Gene/Q
LRZ-SuperMUC iDataPlex Direct
Water Cooled dx360 M4
CINECA -Fermi Blue Gene/Q
Juelich-JuQUEEN Blue Gene/Q
has the most systems in TOP500 with 213
SuperMUC iDataPlex is the fastest system in Europe
has the 20 most-energy-efficient systems on the list (all IBM Blue Gene/Q