Blue Pacific

The Blue Pacific supercomputer was built by IBM and installed at LLNL in the fall of 1998. It contained 5,856 PowerPC 604e microprocessors. Its theoretical top performance was 3.9 teraflops with 2.6 terabytes of memory.

Blue Pacific was used to perform the first-ever three-dimensional simulation of an exploding nuclear weapon primary. This calculation, completed in November 1999, represented the first successful completion of an ASCI milepost application. In addition, this machine performed a series of first-principles simulations detailing the molecular interactions of the highly corrosive compound hydrogen fluoride, which occur in some high explosives.

Blue Pacific calculations aided researchers who explored such diverse areas as turbulence, ab initio molecular dynamics, and quantum chemistry. For example, the supercomputer was utilized to examine what happens when a shock wave passes through an interface of two fluids of differing density. A detailed simulation on 5,832 processors aimed at answering this question earned a team from Lawrence Livermore, the University of Minnesota, and IBM the prestigious Gordon Bell Award in November 1999. The simulation, the largest calculation of its type at that time, achieved a greater level of detail than any previous turbulence simulations.