Supercomputers are cool, so when there is news about one, it is fun to share it. The National Energy Researcher Scientific Computer (NERSC) Center at Berkeley Lab will soon be dedicating its new, flagship supercomputer named 'Edison.' The ceremony is to be held during the celebration of NERSC 40th anniversary.
Edison is a Cray XC30 computer and unlike several other, recently built supercomputers, it will not feature any accelerators, such as GPUs. This is for the specific reason of allowing researchers to just move their code from the older Cray XE6, Grace Hopper supercomputer to Edison, without having to rewrite it. Even without any accelerators though, Edison has a theoretical peak of 2.4 petaflops, or quadrillion floating-point operations per second. So Edison can serve researchers performing data analysis and simulation and modeling, it has been designed with a large number of processors for running simulations as well as lots of memory at each node to store large amounts of data. It has also been optimized to move data rapidly between nodes and storage, which is important as NERSC can see as much as a petabyte of data coming in each month.
As well as being NERSC's new flagship, Edison is also its first supercomputer to rely on free cooling. This cooling method does not use mechanical chillers but instead cools water in outdoor cooling towers, and then cools the air that pass through the supercomputer, as opposed to directly pulling the heat away. This is a more energy efficient method than those typical of most systems.