Trinity — ASC’s First Advanced Technology System

Next-generation computing!
LANL is decreasing its use of city/well water for cooling towers and using water from LANL’s Sanitary Effluent Reclamation Facility (SERF).

NNSA’s ASC Program has given permission to the Los Alamos and Sandia Alliance for Computing at Extreme Scale (ACES) Project to release the request for proposal (RFP) for the Trinity system. The procurement of Trinity is a joint procurement with the DOE Office of Science to procure Trinity for ASC and the NERSC-8 supercomputer for Lawrence Berkeley National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center.

Trinity is the first of ASC’s advanced technology systems. According to NNSA/ASC Program Office’s recently published ASC Computing Strategy document, [ASC Computing Strategy, by J.A. Ang, P.J. Henning, T.T. Hoang, R. Neely, May 2013 (SAND 2013-3951P)], advanced technology systems are “the vanguards of high performance computing platform market and incorporate features that, if successful, will become future commodity technologies. These large, first-of-a-kind systems will require application software modifications in order to take full advantage of exceptional capabilities offered by new technology.”

At Los Alamos, work has been underway to accomplish significant facility upgrades required by Trinity. The Trinity system will reside in the Strategic Computing Center (SCC) in the Nicholas C. Metropolis Center for Modeling and Simulation. The SCC is a 300,000-square-foot building. The vast floor of the supercomputing room is 43,500 square feet, almost an acre in size. To read more about the facility, see the article in the National Security Science magazine, April 2013.

Because of a switch from air to water cooling, an SCC infrastructure upgrade is required to bring water-cooling technology to the facility. The infrastructure with upgrade design is 90% complete. Because energy conservation is critical, ASC Program staff conducted field trips to observe water, power, and cooling operations at supercomputing facilities around the country, including ORNL, NREL, NCAR, LLNL, and NERSC. Staff from Los Alamos visited the largest hybrid cooling tower operation in the country in Eunice, New Mexico. The trip to URENCO in Eunice aided in the evaluation of hybrid versus evaporative cooling tower technologies. The site visits inspired design changes in the SCC cooling towers, for example: the addition of a strategically located valve will save money as a result of cooling without recirculation during months when the outside air temperature can provide adequate cooling temperatures. The ultimate goal is to maximize availability of computing platforms to the end users with minimum expense and effort required of the computing center.

Steam rising from cooling towers
Supercomputing infrastructure at LANL: steam rises from cooling towers.

To meet cooling requirements for the supercomputers in the SCC, LANL is decreasing its use of city/well water for cooling towers and using water from LANL’s Sanitary Effluent Reclamation Facility (SERF). From December 2012 through April 2013, LANL has saved its use of city/well water by roughly 50% for cooling towers to meet supercomputer cooling requirements.

Trinity’s installation is projected to be in 2015–2016. It is expected to be the first platform large and fast enough to begin to accommodate finely resolved 3D calculations for full-scale, end-to-end weapons calculations.  (ASC eNews Quarterly)