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US ORNL introduces Titan supercomputer

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (OR) has introduced a new supercomputer, called Titan, which is capable of running over 20 petaflops per second using a series of upgraded AMD processors and Nvidia GPUs.

The new supercomputer has 18,688 nodes, with each having a 16 core AMD Opteron 6274 processor and an Nvidia Tesla K20 GPU.

Titan, which has over 700 terabytes of memory, will be used for calculations relating to research in energy, climate change, efficient engines, materials and other disciplines.

According to ORNL, the combination of central processing units, the traditional foundation of high-performance computers, and more recent GPUs will allow Titan to occupy the same space as its Jaguar predecessor while using only marginally more electricity.

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ORNL associate laboratory director for computing and computational sciences Jeff Nichols said that one challenge in supercomputers today is power consumption.

"Combining GPUs and CPUs in a single system requires less power than CPUs alone and is a responsible move toward lowering our carbon footprint," Nichols said.

"Titan will provide unprecedented computing power for research in energy, climate change, materials and other disciplines to enable scientific leadership."

ORNL claimed that Titan will be ready for utilisation on day one, as researchers have been planning around the hybrid architecture for two years now.

According to ORNL, using a grid of 14km cells, the new 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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