Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



What is CORAL?

CORAL is a first-of-its-kind U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) collaboration between the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA’s) ASC Program and the Office of Science’s Advanced Scientific Computing Research program (ASCR) that will culminate in three ultra-high performance supercomputers at Lawrence Livermore, Oak Ridge, and Argonne national laboratories. The systems, delivered in the 2017 timeframe, will be used for the most demanding scientific and national security simulation and modeling applications, and will enable continued U.S. leadership in computing. The Livermore system resulting from CORAL will be named Sierra.

CORAL is the next major phase in the U.S. Department of Energy’s scientific computing roadmap and path to exascale computing. The procurements resulting from CORAL will influence the modernization of future generations of computing throughout the NNSA complex.

What is Sierra?

Sierra is the next advanced technology high performance computing system for NNSA’s ASC Program, to be sited at Lawrence Livermore in 2017. It was the system purchased through the CORAL request for proposal process. Sierra is projected to provide four to six times the sustained performance of Sequoia.

Sierra will provide computational resources that are essential for nuclear weapon scientists to fulfill the stockpile stewardship mission through simulation in lieu of underground testing. Modern simulations on powerful computing systems are key to supporting the annual assessment of all stockpile systems, resolving significant finding investigations (SFIs), accomplishing upcoming life extension programs (LEPs) with computationally taxing advanced safety and surety features, and for supporting qualification of hostile environments, safety calculations of abnormal environments, and gravity and reentry simulations.

What is Sierra’s architecture?

Sierra will be five to seven times Sequoia in workload performance with a 120-150 petaflop/s peak. The Sierra system will include compute nodes (POWER Architecture Processor, NVIDIA Volta, NVMe-comaptible PCIe 800GB SSD, greater than 512 GB DDR4 + HBM, and coherent shared memory), compute racks (standard 19-inch with warm-water cooling), and the compute system with be 2.1–2.7 PB memory, 120–150 petaflop/s, and 10 MW). The Global Parallel File System will have 120 PB usable storage and 1.0 TB/s bandwidth.

How will Sierra be used?

Sierra will serve the NNSA’s program to ensure the safety, security, and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent without testing. Simulation is the integrating element of the science and engineering-based program to maintain the nation’s aging nuclear stockpile. Scientists and engineers in NNSA’s Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program will use Sierra to assess the performance of integrated weapon systems as well as for science and engineering calculations. Key scientific areas include: materials modeling problems; turbulent flow and instabilities in such flows; and so-called laser plasma calculations, necessary to assess and predict the performance of the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in its support of the program. This work has important implications for other national security concerns, including nonproliferation and counterterrorism. The new capabilities developed on Sierra also will be applied to the study of other global and national challenges such as energy, climate change, and medicine.

Where can I find more information?