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Two National Labs Win ACM Gordon Bell Prizes for High-Performance Computing Achievements

Oak Ridge Attains Fastest Performance of a Scientific Supercomputing Application; Berkeley Lab Recognized for Predicting Efficiency of Nanostructure Solar Cells for Energy

The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Contact: Virginia Gold

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New York, December 11, 2008 -- ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) presented the 2008 ACM Gordon Bell Prizes to teams of scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), also a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) facility, for outstanding achievements in high-performance computing.  ORNL was recognized in the Peak Performance Category for achieving the fastest performance ever, on ORNLs Cray XT Jaguar supercomputer.  Berkeley Lab was the recipient of a Special Category award in Algorithm Innovation for realizing impressive performance and scalability in predicting the efficiency of a new solar cell material.  The Gordon Bell Prizes, which recognize outstanding achievements in high-performance computing, were presented in November at the SC08 supercomputing conference in Austin, TX.


            By modifying the algorithms and software design to maximize speed without sacrificing accuracy, the ORNL team, led by Thomas Schulthess, achieved 1.352 quadrillion calculations a second (1.352 petaflops) with a simulation of the materials that conduct electricity without resistance.  These materials, known as superconductors, have potential applications for power transmission, and superconducting magnets have been used extensively in magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic levitation transportation systems. 


            The Berkeley Lab researchers, led by Lin-Wang Wang, demonstrated the potential of nanostructures, tiny materials whose behaviors and properties could provide solutions for curbing dependence on petroleum, coal and other fossil fuels. The Berkeley Lab team simulated nanostructure behavior by using a novel Linearly Scaling Three Dimensional Fragment (LS3DF) method  which incorporated a “divide-and-conquer” technique to gain insights into how nanostructures function.  The team ultimately achieved a speed of 442 trillion calculations (442 teraflops) on a Cray XT5 system with 147,146 cores.   


            The winning entry for the ACM 2008 Gordon Bell Prize Peak Performance Category was titled “Multi-teraflops Simulations of Disorder Effects on the Transition Temperature of the High Tc Superconducting Cuprates.”  In addition to Schulthess, the other members of the ORNL team include Gonzalo Alvarez, Michael S. Summers, Don E. Maxwell, Markus Eisenbach, Jeremy S. Meredith, Thomas A. Maier, Paul Kent, and Eduardo D’Azevedo, as well as John M. Levesque and Jeffrey M. Larkin of Cray, Inc.


            The ACM Gordon Bell Prize for the Special Category award in Algorithm Innovation went to the Berkeley Lab team study titled “Linearly Scaling 3D Fragment Method for Large-Scale Electronic Structure Calculations.”  Members include Byounghak Lee, Hongzhang Shan, Zhengji Zhao, Juan Meza, Erich Strohmaier, and David Bailey as well as Wang.


About the ACM Gordon Bell Prizes

The ACM Gordon Bell Prizes are awarded each year to recognize outstanding achievement in high-performance computing. The purpose of this recognition is to track the progress over time of parallel computing, with particular emphasis on rewarding innovation in applying high-performance computing to applications in science. Prizes are awarded for peak performance as well as special achievements in scalability and time-to-solution on important science and engineering problems and low price/performance. Financial support of the $10,000 awards is provided by Gordon Bell, a pioneer in high-performance and parallel computing.


About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.  


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