Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility

Celebrating 25 Years of Leadership in High Performance Computing

Twenty-five years ago, high-performance computing (HPC) in the United States stood at a crossroads. Established computing architectures were approaching their limits in performance and competiveness, while the country’s need for computing power to solve challenging problems in science, energy, and national security continued to grow.;xNLx;;xNLx;Out of this period of technological transition, a new force in scientific computing emerged in the unlikely region of East Tennessee, a force that continues to shape the HPC landscape today.;xNLx;;xNLx;In 2017, the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility is celebrating 25 years of leadership in high-performance computing. Since its founding as the ORNL Center for Computational Sciences (CCS) in May 1992, the center has consistently delivered supercomputers of unprecedented capability to the scientific community on behalf of the US Department of Energy (DOE). Scientists, in turn, have used these versatile systems to solve critical problems in areas as diverse as biology, advanced materials, climate, and nuclear physics.;xNLx;;xNLx;From the beginning, the OLCF has contributed to a rapid evolution in scientific computing that has produced a millionfold increase in computing power. This rise has included the launch of the first teraflop system (IBM Power3 Eagle) for open science, the science community’s first petaflop system (Cray XT5 Jaguar), and two top-ranked machines on the TOP500 list, including the OLCF’s current leadership-class machine, Titan. Additionally, the next chapter in the OLCF’s legacy is set to begin in 2018 with the deployment of Summit, a pre-exascale system capable of more than 100 petaflops.;xNLx;;xNLx;Using OLCF systems, scientists have expanded the scale and scope of their research, solved complex problems in less time, and filled critical gaps in scientific knowledge. Today, simulation is considered on par with experiment and theory as an essential standard of modern science. ;xNLx;

1985-03-01 13:13:01

ORNL's Cray X-MP

Oak Ridge National Laboratory acquires the Cray X-MP computer, Cray's first shared-memory parallel vector processor. The computer is initially obtained for handling uranium enrichment calculations but will eventually be used to help engineers simulate complex physical systems and for large engineering studies.

1985-07-01 13:13:01

Serial #1 iPSC/1 Delivered to ORNL

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) receives serial #1 of the first Intel Personal SuperComputer 1, or iPSC/1—the first parallel computer built from commercially available off-the-shelf parts. ORNL’s model features 32 nodes connected via Ethernet into a hypercube.

1988-07-01 13:13:01

ORNL Beta Tests iPSC/2

Oak Ridge National Laboratory receives Intel’s second model of its first Intel Personal SuperComputer (iPSC) system, the iPSC/2. The system is serial #1 with 64 nodes.

1989-07-01 13:13:01

iPSC/860 Comes to ORNL

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) receives one of the most powerful computers available in 1989, the Intel Personal SuperComputer 860, or iPSC/860. The serial #1 parallel computer, with 128 nodes connected in a hypercube, operates at a peak performance of 5.12 gigaflops.

1990-11-12 13:13:01

Team Wins Gordon Bell for MKKR-CPA Run

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Malcolm Stocks and Al Geist, along with William Shelton of the US Naval Research Laboratory and Beniamino Ginatempo at the University of Messina in Italy, run an alloy-theory code, MKKR-CPA, at 2.5 gigaflops on a 128-node Intel iPSC/860. The team wins an Association for Computing Machinery Gordon Bell Prize the same year for their price–performance during the project: 800 megaflops/$1M.

1991-09-01 13:13:01

KSR-1 Computer Installed at ORNL

The first multiprocessor (serial #1) system from Kendall Square Research is installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in September 1991. The 32-processor system features a shared-memory architecture and is designed to make porting applications easy for both serial and parallel codes. The system operates at a peak performance of 2.56 gigaflops.

1991-12-01 13:13:01

Congress Signs HPCA

On December 9, 1991, Congress signs the High-Performance Computing Act (HPCA) of 1991, created by Senator Al Gore. HPCA proposes a national information infrastructure to build communications networks and databases and also calls for proposals to build new high-performance computing facilities to serve science.

1991-12-03 00:00:00

ORNL Submits PICS Proposal

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) joins with three other national laboratories and seven universities to submit the Partnership in Computational Science (PICS) proposal to the US Department of Energy as part of the High-Performance Computing and Communications Initiative. PICS paves the way for ORNL to become a major player in scientific computing.

1991-12-09 00:00:00

Bob Ward to Direct CCS

As part of the Partnership in Computational Science proposal, Robert C. Ward becomes the acting director for a planned high-performance computing center. Ward will lead the Center for Computational Sciences (CCS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the formative phases of the project.

1991-12-15 00:00:00

CSEP Program Established

The US Department of Energy sponsors the Computational Science Education Project (CSEP), which targets undergraduate and graduate students in physical or life sciences. CSEP is designed to relay overviews of computational science tools to students in a comprehensive e-book, featuring clickable elements, summaries, and visualization packages for boosting understanding.

Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility

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