El Capitan

World’s Fastest Supercomputer

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How to Deliver on a Mission

Security defines Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s mission. It’s a sweeping responsibility, encompassing efforts from ensuring the safety of the U.S.’s nuclear deterrent to addressing threats posed to energy and environmental security.

For over 65 years, the lab has met this mission, applying science and technology to make the world safer. And since its inception, high-performance computing leadership has been fundamental to LLNL’s success.

Lawrence Livermore National Lab and Cray forged their initial HPC partnership in 1978 when the lab was among the first to install a Cray-1 supercomputer. Now, LLNL and Cray, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, start a new ascent with El Capitan — the lab’s first exascale system and the world’s fastest supercomputer. Based on the Shasta architecture developed by Cray and enhanced with a variety of new HPE technologies, El Capitan will run at a record-breaking speed of 2 exaflops.

Scheduled for delivery in early 2023, the system will become the U.S. Department of Energy’s third exascale-class supercomputer, joining its Shasta-based sisters Frontier and Aurora at the Oak Ridge and Argonne National Laboratories. It will feature a new system architecture, new interconnect, new software platform, and next-generation AMD EPYC™ processors and high-bandwidth memory (HBM)-enabled AMD Radeon™ Instinct GPUs.

If security defines LLNL’s mission, then El Capitan redefines how they meet it.

Read the announcement for details on the El Capitan system.

As an industry and as a nation, we have achieved a major milestone in computing. HPE is honored to support the U.S. Department of Energy and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in a critical strategic mission to advance the United States’ position in security and defense,

—Peter Ungaro, Senior Vice President and General Manager, HPC and Mission Critical Systems (MCS), at HPE


El Capitan exascale system

The Science of Security

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is a multi-program national security laboratory under the National Nuclear Security Administration. As such, it has one directive: apply world-class science and technology to make the world a safer place. It may have a single directive, but it has many assignments. Chief among them is ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear stockpile. Additionally, LLNL’s efforts encompass counterterrorism, nonproliferation, defense and intelligence, and energy and environmental security. El Capitan will be housed at LLNL’s state-of-the-art Livermore Computing Center.

This unprecedented computing capability, which uses HPE’s Cray Shasta architecture that is powered by advanced CPU and GPU technology from AMD will sustain America’s position on the global stage in high performance computing and provide an observable example of the commitment of country to maintaining an unparalleled nuclear deterrent,

—Bill Goldstein, Lab Director Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


What 2 Quintillion Operations Per Second Means

GTo reach exascale, a supercomputer must perform at least one exaflops — or 1 quintillion (1018) calculations per second. The El Capitan system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will skip right past the one, running at a record-breaking speed of 2 exaflops —10x faster than today’s most powerful supercomputer. But how do you even begin to understand the speed, power, and impact of that many zeroes? Check out our infographic to see what the world’s fastest supercomputer will mean for science.

See all the Fun Facts

Cray’s Shasta supercomputing architecture, Slingshot interconnect, and software platform form the foundation of El Capitan’s exascale capabilities.

Shasta Supercomputer

Cray’s new supercomputer, code-named Shasta, is an entirely new design and will underpin the next era of supercomputing. The system is characterized by exascale performance capability, new datacentric workloads, and an explosion of processor and accelerator architectures. Shasta incorporates next-generation Cray system software to enable modularity and extensibility, supports unparalleled flexibility in processing choice, and scales seamlessly.

Explore Shasta

Slingshot Interconnect

The Cray-designed Slingshot™ interconnect is the network backbone for the diverse simulation, modeling, AI, and analytics workloads today’s scientific and technological questions require. It offers a host of important new features such as adaptive routing, congestion control, and Ethernet compatibility.

Explore Slingshot Technology

Shasta Software Platform

Cray’s new, open, and extensible software platform addresses the growing need for supercomputing capability across government and private industry. It fuses supercomputing performance and capability with the modularity, composability, and ease-of-use of cloud computing, effectively answering today’s new class of digital transformation problems. This next-generation supercomputing software platform tackles key requirements, including application development and portability, management and monitoring, interoperability, and investment protection.

Explore the Shasta Software Platform

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