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Originally appeared in May 14, 2004


Global supercomputer leader Cray Inc. announced that it will collaborate with the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to provide the world's most powerful supercomputer. The leadership-class system will be used for advanced scientific research.

A 100-teraflop (trillions of calculations per second) Cray system at Oak Ridge is planned for 2006, with the potential to grow to 250 teraflops in 2007. Near-term plans call for increasing the capacity of the current Cray X1" supercomputer at ORNL to 20 teraflops in 2004, with a 20-teraflop Red Storm- based system from Cray added in 2005. The systems will be housed in ORNL's new National Leadership Computing Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Cray officials placed the contract value at about $25 million for 2004 and said it could be worth more than $125 million to the company over several years, subject to future federal funding.

The leadership-class computing capability is part of the DOE Office of Science's 20-year plan to provide facilities "needed to extend the frontiers of science, to pursue opportunities of enormous importance, and to maintain U.S. science primacy in the world," according to Raymond L. Orbach, director of DOE's Office of Science. "Investment in these facilities will yield extraordinary scientific breakthroughs - and vital societal and economic benefits."

ORNL Director Jeff Wadsworth said, "The National Leadership Computing Facility will be open to scientists and engineers nationwide, independent of their institutional affiliation or source of funding."

"The NLCF supercomputer will boost scientific computation to a scale that challenges the threshold of human comprehension," said Dr. Thomas Zacharia, ORNL's associate lab director for Computing and Computational Sciences. "The expansion of computational power will usher in a new era of scientific discovery and help restore American leadership in climate modeling, biology, fusion energy and other fields."

"Cray is extremely excited to collaborate with the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to provide the world's most capable supercomputer for scientific research," Cray Chairman and CEO Jim Rottsolk said. "This is another important demonstration of Cray's renewed leadership in high-performance computing. We are forming strong partnerships to advance the boundaries of science with our purpose-built HPC systems."

A Cray X1 supercomputer was installed at ORNL in February 2003, to test its effectiveness in solving important scientific problems in climate, biology, nanoscale materials, fusion and astrophysics. In November 2003, ORNL reported that the supercomputer was running challenging applications up to 25 times faster than previously achieved by ORNL on other high-end computing systems, and that it ran a standard climate modeling application 50 percent faster per processor than Japan's Earth Simulator.

The Cray X1 is the first U.S. computer to offer vector processing and massively parallel processing capabilities in a single architecture. The system has been specifically designed for scientific applications. ORNL plans to deploy the supercomputer through a partnership with other national labs, research institutions, computing centers, universities, and private industry.

The Cray systems will be funded through the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program in the DOE's Office of Science.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.

Cray's mission is to be the premier provider of supercomputing solutions for its customers' most challenging scientific and engineering problems. Go to www.cray.com for more information about the company.

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