Los Alamos National Laboratory is celebrating 100. Not 100 years, but 100 supercomputers. The center that is best known for its role supporting national security for the last seven decades is also widely hailed as a premier supercomputing site.
“Computing power for our Laboratory’s national security mission is a huge part of our proud legacy, and it plays an integral role in our bold future,” says Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan.
Although the first “computers” were actually people using mechanical calculators, in 1952 the Lab welcomed MANIAC, the Mathematical Analyzer, Numerical Integrator and Computer. MANIAC was followed by the IBM 701, the MANIAC II, IBM Stretch, and the CDC 6600.
One of LANL’s most recent claims-to-fame in its long legacy is its breaking of the petaflop barrier in 2008 with the now-retired IBM Roadrunner supercomputer. Made with a specialized coprocessor, the Sony CELL BE, the world’s first petaflopper was briefly used for open science before being deployed for classified work running nuclear weapons simulations.
This month the lab welcomed its newest system, Bonanza, bringing the lab’s current system count to 13. The collection includes machines like Cielo, Lobo, Mustang and Moonlight, running a mix of classified and unclassified jobs. The video below details the Cielo installation.
Los Alamo’s supercomputing reverie was spurred by the HPC History Project, that it is undertaking in partnership with the Charles Babbage Institute at the University of Minnesota. An early result of that collaboration is an infographic highlighting many of these historic machines.