Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Argonne Leadership Computing Facility Makes It Easy to be 'Green'

16.12.2008
Several innovative steps designed to maximize the efficiency of Argonne's new Blue Gene/P high-performance computer have saved many taxpayer dollars while reducing the laboratory's environmental footprint.

From Deep Blue, the computer that defeated Garry Kasparov in a 1997 chess match, to the new Blue Gene® line of high-performance computers created by IBM, a single color has traditionally been associated with advanced computing.

With the recent opening of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, however, high-performance computing has taken on a different hue: green. Several innovative steps designed to maximize the efficiency of Argonne's new Blue Gene/P high-performance computer have saved many taxpayer dollars while reducing the laboratory's environmental footprint.

While similar computing centers at other laboratories and institutions often require several megawatts of electricity – enough to meet the energy demands a small town – the ALCF needs only a little more than one megawatt of power. "Because the ALCF can effectively meet the demands of this world-class computer, the laboratory ends up saving taxpayers more than a million dollars a year," said Paul Messina, director of science at the ALCF.

The Blue Gene/P currently runs at a speed of more than 557 teraflops, which means that it can complete more than 557 trillion calculations per second. While several high-performance computing facilities recently established or upgraded at some of Argonne's sister laboratories have surpassed that mark, only one exceeds the efficiency of Argonne's Blue Gene/P. "The Blue Gene/P uses about a third as much electricity as a machine of comparable size built with more conventional parts," Messina said.

While a megawatt of electricity might seem like a lot of power, the massive number of computations that the Blue Gene/P can do puts it in perspective. Energy efficiency of high-performance computers is measured in flops per watt – how many calculations per second the computer can do for every watt of electricity it uses.

According to the November 2008 Green500 ranking of supercomputers, the Blue Gene/P's energy efficiency averages out to more than 350 million calculations a second per watt. By contrast, a common household light bulb frequently uses between 50 and 100 watts of electricity. Among the top 20 supercomputers in the world, the Blue Gene/P is the second-most energy-efficient. "The fact that we are running such a powerful computer so efficiently shows that we can simultaneously respond to the demands of the advanced simulation and modeling community and the environmental concerns of today's society," Messina said.

Much of the electricity that the Blue Gene/P requires is used not to actually process the computations, but rather to cool the machinery. Without any cooling at all, the room that houses the computer would reach 100 degrees within ten minutes after the computers started running.

To keep the facility cool and safe, six air handlers move 300,000 cubic feet of air per minute under the floor, keeping the room chilled to 64 degrees Fahrenheit. These air handlers, according to Messina, cool more cost-effectively than large air conditioners used at other facilities. "Many other high-performance computing centers require as much electricity to cool their computers as they do to operate them, but here at Argonne we need only an additional 60 percent," he said. "We not only have a green computer, we have an entire green facility."

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America 's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

Eleanor Taylor | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.anl.gov

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices

19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A simple additive to improve film quality

19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>