Compaq to build 30-TFLOPS supercomputer for Energy

Compaq to build 30-TFLOPS supercomputer for Energy

By Tony Lee Orr

GCN Staff

AUG. 22 —Compaq Computer Corp. will tackle the task of building the Energy Department's next supercomputer.

Gen. John Gordon, head of the newly formed National Nuclear Security Administration, announced today that the company will, under a $200 million contract, construct a system designed to execute more than 30 trillion floating-point operations per second.

The system, tagged "Q" by Energy officials, should be online by mid 2002, said Jesse Lipcon, vice president of Alpha Technology at Compaq. The system will be the latest in the department's Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative ( and

A big brother of sorts to the 6-TFLOPS supercomputer Compaq is building for the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, Q will consist of 12,000 processors grouped into 375 32-processor nodes, Lipcon said. High-bandwidth interconnect switches from Quadrics Supercomputing World Ltd. of Bristol, England, will link the processors. Compaq's Tru64 Unix will be the operating system.

The system will use much of the same technology used in the Pittsburgh system, which comprises 2,728 1.1-GHz Compaq Alpha EV68 processors grouped into 682 four-processor AlphaServer nodes ( The smaller system also uses Quadrics interconnect switches and Compaq's Tru64 Unix.

The massive computer will occupy a building roughly the half the size of a football field at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, officials said.

Q is the next step in the Energy Department's goal to reach a 100-TFLOPS system by 2004.

Once constructed, Q will be faster than the 21 fastest computers in current operation working together, said Paul Messina, director of NNSA's office of advanced simulation and computing.

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