WASHINGTON, D.C. – Supercomputers at the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) hold four of the top six slots on the industry-standard TOP500 list of the world's fastest computers released today. NNSA's computers on this year's list are: BlueGene/L at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in first place, Red Storm at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) in second place, ASC Purple at LLNL in fourth place, and Thunderbird at SNL in sixth place.
"Now fully operational, these systems are delivering on the promise of taking three-dimensional computer simulation into an exciting new domain – predictive science," Energy Department Secretary Samuel W. Bodman said. "This capability is not only important to resolving current, time-urgent questions, but it is producing results that are providing the kind of new insights that lead to ideas for additional applications."
Supercomputers are critical to NNSA's work to assess the safety and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile. After the United States entered a nuclear testing moratorium in 1992, the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program was developed to help secure the stockpile through computer simulation.
NNSA uses supercomputers within the science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program to compile theoretical models, experimental results, and legacy databases into an aggregated picture that weapon scientists use to assess the viability of the nation's nuclear stockpile. Computer simulations of nuclear weapons are extremely complex, requiring a tremendous collection of physics, chemistry, engineering and material science. Supercomputers are vital to NNSA's work.
"The advent of these systems is ushering in a new era of predictive simulation in high performance computing," said Thomas D'Agostino, NNSA's Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs. "Users are very excited about early results as they work toward the longer term transformation of the weapons complex."
Because of the complexity of its national security mission, NNSA is a leader in the supercomputer industry with 40 of the 308 systems in the United States. To view the full TOP500 list visit: www.top500.org/lists/2006/11. The following is more information on NNSA's supercomputers on this year's list:
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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