Researchers from around the world use the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) to solve problems so challenging they require the world’s most powerful computers. OLCF’s high-performance computing systems—“supercomputers”— coupled with the expertise of OLCF technical staff solve problems in diverse fields, including improvements to the safety and performance of nuclear power plants, design of new materials that can revolutionize industries, and models of the origins of the universe. Supercomputers allow researchers to study subatomic particle interactions that only exist for fractions of a second and to simulate the volatile conditions inside a combustion or turbine engine, enabling a level of detailed analysis unavailable through traditional experimental means.

 

The OLCF is home to the nation’s fastest, most powerful open-science supercomputer, Summit, an IBM AC922 system that debuted in June 2018. Summit has a theoretical peak performance of 200 peta flops, which makes it possible for scientists to solve problems faster than ever before. The OLCF's Titan supercomputer, a Cray XK7 system, was decommissioned in August 2019. Titan debuted in November 2012 and had a theoretical peak performance of 27 peta flops. The OLCF is currently developing Frontier, a system that will be capable of 1.5 exaflops when it arrives in 2021. These machines are used by researchers who are developing increasingly complex models, from human cells to environmental systems to exploding stars, and creating lifelike simulations that accelerate breakthroughs in diverse fields such as advanced materials and understanding the causes of cancer.

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