The Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program's Purple system was housed in LLNL’s Terascale Simulation Facility (TSF). It stood in testimony to the successful realization of the bold vision expressed one decade earlier—the development of the complex three-dimensional integrated weapons performance applications and their demonstration on computers capable of successfully running these extraordinary codes.
ASC Purple was a partnership between the DOE/NNSA Advanced Simulation and Computing Program (historically known as ASCI, now ASC) and IBM Corporation with LLNL as the lead laboratory. The ASC Purple contract scheduled the demonstration of 100-teraflops peak performance in June 2005. This represented the contract for the long-held major milestone in the ASC program conceived in 1996—achieving 100 teraflops for the simulation of performance and safety for the Stockpile Stewardship Program. In 1996, the three ASC Laboratories (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories) each had approximately 50-gigaflops peak computational capability.
The ASC program accelerated the United States computer industry to meet the 100-teraflops goal in the 2004–2005 timeframe. With this IBM contract, the NNSA/ASC program met this goal as planned. The total contract value for ASC Purple and ancillary equipment was $230 million. This contract had multiple deliveries of hardware to Livermore, of which Purple and BlueGene/L were the two major components. Purple was the 100-teraflops (1.0×1014 or one hundred trillion floating- point operations per second) system. It was a genuinely huge machine based on symmetric shared-memory multiprocessors (SMP) containing more than 12,000 next- generation IBM POWER5 microprocessors.
Purple required 7.5 MW of electrical power for the computer and cooling equipment—the equivalent electrical power of 7,500 average homes. Additionally, the full system generated more than 16,000,000 Btu/h in heat, requiring new air-handling designs and specifications.