ORNL and UT partner to assemble the Cray XT5 system Kraken.
Hot on the heels of Jaguar's success, ORNL is partnering with the University of Tennessee on the assembly and start-up of Kraken, another massive Cray XT5 system. Initially, the new system will have more than 600 teraflops of processing power, but upgrades scheduled for later this year will enable Kraken to become the second ORNL-based system to crack the petaflop barrier.
When fully deployed, Kraken—named after the giant, multitentacled, sea creature of Norse legend—will use its 100,000 processor cores to grapple with scientific questions that have eluded the grasp of previous computing systems.
While the Kraken and Jaguar are nearly identical in terms of hardware, they will serve the research needs of two different sets of users. Kraken, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, will be available primarily to university-based users around the country. Jaguar, on the other hand, is available to a smaller group of users concentrating on high-impact projects of national importance—as determined by the U.S. Department of Energy. The users on Jaguar are chosen annually through a peer-reviewed competition from proposals submitted from industry, academia and government agencies.
"Kraken's research agenda is determined by the National Science Foundation, the University of Tennessee and the greater academic community," said Buddy Bland, project director for ORNL's Leadership Computing Facility. "The NSF's mission enables more curiosity-driven research, providing a scientist with an interesting concept time on Kraken for investigation. Jaguar, on the other hand, is focused directly on solving critical national problems within the Department of Energy's mission."
One expects that the experience gained in bringing Jaguar on line will enable Kraken to rise from the depths somewhat faster than its predecessor. When that occurs, the ORNL-UT research alliance may boast the two fastest supercomputers in the world dedicated to open scientific research.
The University of Tennessee has long been accustomed to national rankings in athletics; now the university's Kraken ranks as the largest academic computer in the world. As with Jaguar, the implications for the university's research program are just beginning to unfold.
Web site provided by Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Communications and External Relations