The National Nuclear Security Administration has awarded Cray a $174 million contract, one of the largest in the company's history. Cray is developing a next-generation Cray XC supercomputer, along with a massive storage system.
The Sonexion storage system Cray is providing has a capacity of 82 million GB. The system can operate at speeds of up to 1,700 GB per second. The NNSA will be using the supercomputer, which it calls Trinity, to model the decay of stored nuclear weapons over time and to simulate the effect of new weapons. The computer will be stationed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Sandia National Laboratories will be collaborating on the project. The Trinity system also will support a third lab, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
"Both Los Alamos and Sandia have a long history with Cray, going back to the beginning of the supercomputing era and most recently with the Cielo platform," says Gary Grider, head of the High Performance Computing Division at Los Alamos. "That history continues with the Trinity platform that will provide next generation supercomputing in support of the U. S. nuclear security enterprise."
Grider doesn't exaggerate the long history between Cray and Los Alamos. The laboratory purchased the first Cray-1 supercomputer in 1976. That supercomputer had a processing speed of 80 megaflops. Although Cray has not yet determined the exact speed of the new computer, it is expected to be able to reach speeds of 14 petaflops, 175 million times the speed of the Cray-1. Although Cray's history with the NNSA doesn't quite stretch back to the beginning of the company, since the organization didn't exist until 1999, the NNSA has been a Cray customer for more than 10 years.
"It is a real honor that one of the largest contracts in our company's history has come from one of our most important customers," says Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. "We couldn't be more proud that, once again, the NNSA has placed its trust in Cray to provide them with the computational tools needed to support their important mission."
The new Cray XC supercomputer will be powered by Intel Xeon and Xeon Phi processors that are still in development. The processors are codenamed "Haswell" and "Knights Landing," respectively, and will power most next-generation computers.