Bluewaters, the new Cray supercomputer at UIUC will support significant research advances in a broad range of science and engineering domains, meeting the needs of the most compute-intensive, memory-intensive, and data-intensive applications. Blue Waters is expected to deliver sustained performance, on average, of more than one petaflops on a set of benchmark codes that represent those applications and domains.

More than 25 teams, from a dozen research fields, are preparing to achieve breakthroughs by using Blue Waters to model a broad range of phenomena, including: nanotechnology’s minute molecular assemblies, the evolution of the universe since the Big Bang, the damage caused by earthquakes and the formation of tornadoes, the mechanism by which viruses enter cells, and improved climate change predictions.

Blue Waters will be composed of more than 235 Cray XE6 cabinets based on the recently announced AMD Opteron(TM) 6200 Series processor (formerly code-named “Interlagos”) and more than 30 cabinets of a future version of the recently announced Cray XK6 supercomputer with NVIDIA(R) Tesla(TM) GPU computing capability incorporated into a single, powerful hybrid supercomputer. These Cray XK nodes will further increase the measured sustained performance on real science problems.

The Cray Blue Waters system will employ:

  • Cray’s scalable Gemini high-performance interconnect, providing a major improvement in message throughput and latency.
  • 16-core AMD (NYSE: AMD) Opteron(TM) 6200 Series processors, selected by the editors of HPCwire as one of the top five new technologies to watch in 2011.
  • Cray XK6 blades with NVIDIA(R) Tesla(TM) GPUs, based on NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) next-generation ‘Kepler’ architecture, which is expected to more than double the performance of the Fermi GPU on double-precision arithmetic.
  • 1.5 petabytes of total memory (or four gigabytes per AMD Opteron 6200 Series processor core).
  • Cray’s scalable Linux Environment (CLE) and HPC-focused GPU/CPU Programming Environment (CPE).
  • A Cray integrated Lustre parallel file system with more than one terabyte-per-second of aggregate storage bandwidth and more than 25 petabytes of user accessible storage.
  • Up to 500 petabytes of near-line storage and up to 300 gigabits per second of wide area connections.
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Consisting of products and services, the multi-year and multi-phase contract is valued at more than $188 million. Cray will begin installing hardware in the University of Illinois’ National Petascale Computing Facility soon, with an early science system expected to be available in early 2012. Blue Waters is expected to be fully deployed by the end of 2012.