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Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

NNSA awards contract to Cray, Inc. to build exascale supercomputer

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National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has earmarked $600 million for its first exascale supercomputer, which will perform research to maintain the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

The NNSA, housed under the Department of Energy, has signed an agreement with Cray Inc. to build El Capitan, with anticipated delivery in late 2022.

The exascale supercomputer will be located at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, Calif.

“The Department of Energy is the world leader in supercomputing, and El Capitan is a critical addition to our next generation systems,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said. “El Capitan’s advanced capabilities for modeling, simulation and Artificial Intelligence will help push America’s competitive edge in energy and national security, allow us to ask tougher questions, solve greater challenges and develop better solutions for generations to come.”

The technology will enable researchers from each of the NNSA’s weapons design laboratories at LLNL, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories to run 3D simulations and calculations at difficult, time-consuming resolutions using state-of-the-art supercomputers.

“NNSA is modernizing the Nuclear Security Enterprise to face 21st-century threats,” Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, DOE under secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator. “El Capitan will allow us to be more responsive, innovative, and forward-thinking when it comes to maintaining a nuclear deterrent that is second to none in a rapidly-evolving threat environment.”

All three DOE exascale supercomputers will be built by Cray utilizing their Shasta architecture, Slingshot interconnect, and new system software platform.