Cray to develop new supercomputer for the Los Alamos National Laboratory
Friday, Jul 18th 2014

The Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico is being supplied with a new supercomputer by Cray Inc., reports the Washington Post. The new computer, which will have a storage capacity of 82 petabytes and a 1.7 terabyte processing speed, is being named, "Trinity," in honor of the launch tests done in 1962. The computer will run simulations that verify the safety, effectiveness, and security of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.  It is unknown as to whether or not the computer will use environmental monitoring technologies to ascertain the details of the weapons' composition.

This major new supercomputer is currently the fastest supercomputer projected to be built in the world. The data entered into the machine will likely be used to conduct simulations as to the continued efficacy of the U.S. nuclear arsenal as the weapons age. News Maine has reported that the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories made combined efforts to design the machine.

Chip power
The device will leverage the new "Knights Landing" Xeon Phi processors, reports PC World. These chips use the Micron's Hybrid Memory Cube technology, and have "five times more bandwidth than the emerging DDR4 memory, which is not yet used in computers," PC World reports.  The level of power involved will allow the computer to conduct a dazzling array of high-accuracy simulations involving trajectory, composition, environmental monitoring, and other potential risk factors that may go into the production, maintenance and launch of a nuclear device.

In many ways, this supercomputer is not merely a monitoring tool of the U.S., but a security measure in its own right. Trinity will be tasked with simulating the destruction of the nuclear stockpile reserves as well as hosting many classified national security applications, according to HPC wire. There have been no details released regarding the use of security systems based around the machine itself, like environmental monitoring, but there should be many for  a project of this size. The sheer size of the deal - $174 million - marks this supercomputer as one for the history books, as it is one of the largest sums paid to Cray for its services as a network manufacturer. There hasn't been a single computer that runs as fast as this one around yet, and there may not be one even in 2016, when Trinity is set to launch.