Delivering Next-Gen Computing Systems to U.S. National Laboratories

The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration selects Dell Technologies to provide more than 40 petaflops of expanded computing capacity for computational scientists.

The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and its scientific laboratories are the foundation of our national defense. With responsibility for guarding national security through the military application of nuclear science, the NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. It works to reduce the global danger from weapons of mass destruction, provides the U.S. Navy with safe and militarily effective nuclear propulsion, and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the United States and abroad.

The NNSA’s Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program plays a vital role in meeting these goals that are the heart of our nation’s nuclear deterrent. Computing is the bedrock of the ASC program, which requires extensive modeling and simulation capabilities to ensure the safety, security and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile in the absence of testing, and to help maintain U.S. leadership in high performance computing.

This kind of mission takes an enormous amount of computational power, and NNSA’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory recently announced the awarding of a subcontract to Dell Technologies for next-generation supercomputing systems to support the NNSA’s mission of enhancing national security and protection

Awarded in partnership with Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories, the second Commodity Technology Systems contract (CTS-2) is valued starting at $40M for an initial 40 petaflops of expanded computing capacity for computational scientists at the Sandia, Livermore and Los Alamos labs.

Computing systems built under the CTS-2 contract will be divided among the three laboratories in building blocks called “scalable units” (SUs), with each SU representing approximately 1.5 petaflops of computing power. Initial system deliveries are scheduled to begin in mid-2022 and continue through 2025. The new systems will replace current commodity systems that are now nearing retirement.

Driving efficiency and standardization

As part of a platform strategy for the ASC program, the CTS procurement model delivers performance and value by standardizing hardware and software at each NNSA National Laboratory.

That’s very much the case here. The scalable units will incorporate next-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors (codenamed Sapphire Rapids) with next-generation Dell PowerEdge servers with highly efficient liquid cooling from CoolIT and a choice of next-gen server accelerators.

At Dell Technologies, we are extremely excited to work with the NNSA, our National Labs and our partners to drive the forefront of high-performance computing technology.

For a closer look at the NNSA and one of its core missions, see “Maintaining the Stockpile.”

About the Author: Rajesh Pohani

Rajesh Pohani is Vice President of Portfolio and Product Management for Dell Technologies’ PowerEdge, HPC and Core Compute business. He and his team are responsible for Dell’s server and high-performance computing portfolios.