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Titan supercomputer debuts with 20-petabyte performance (pictures)

The system, housed at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee, has 18,688 nodes to power a rate of 20,000 trillion calculations a second.

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CNET Reviews staff
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1 of 6 Oak Ridge National Laboratory

That's a lot of GPUs

A worker helps construct the Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. The system is believed to be one of the two most powerful supercomputers in the world by making use of Nvidia discrete graphics chips. Such chips allow for many tasks to be done at the same time, speeding computing.
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2 of 6 Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Putting on the finishing touches

Workers put the final touches on the Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Lab. Titan takes up the same amount of physical space as its predecessor, Jaguar, but it's 10-times more powerful. It's also five times more energy efficient. Titan is capable of churning through more than 20 petaflops of calculations each second, verus 2.3 petaflops with Jaguar. And it consumes about 9 megawatts of power versus 7 megawatts for the older system. If Oak Ridge upgraded Jaguar by simply expanding its CPU-based architecture, the system would be more than four times its current size and consume more than 30 megawatts of power.
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3 of 6 Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Supercomputer speeds nuclear research

The Denovo code, used to model the behavior of neutrons in a nuclear power reactor, will help engineers design nuclear power plants with improved performance and safety. America’s aging nuclear power plants provide about a fifth of the country’s electricity, and Denovo will help engineers extend their operating lives while ensuring safety. The Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will allow Denovo to simulate a fuel rod through one round of use in a reactor core in 13 hours; this job took 60 hours on Titan’s predecessor, the Jaguar supercomputer.
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4 of 6 Nvidia

Titan incorporates 18,688 nodes with GPUs and CPUs

Nvidia's Tesla K-20 GPU was designed from the ground up for power-efficient, high performance computing, computational science and supercomputing. The new Titan supercomputer combines Nvidia's GPUs with AMD CPUs to boost computing 10-times from the system's predecessor.
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5 of 6 Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Titan debuts for open scientific research

The Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility is home to Titan, the world’s most powerful supercomputer for open science with a theoretical peak performance exceeding 20 petaflops (quadrillion calculations per second). That kind of computational capability is on par with each of the world’s 7 billion people being able to carry out 3 million calculations per second. The machine will be used for scientific research, like examining climate change.
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6 of 6 Oak Ridge National Lab

It's looking a little cloudy today

Simulations on supercomputers inform stakeholders about infrastructure investments needed to deal with the consequences of global climate change. The Community Atmosphere Model–Spectral Element simulates long-term global climate. Improved atmospheric modeling under Titan will help researchers better understand future air quality as well as the effect of particles suspended in the air. The new Titan system will be able to simulate from one to five years per day of computing time, up from the three months or so that Jaguar was able to churn through in a day.

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