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ACM 2007 Gordon Bell Prize for Supercomputer Innovation


The Association for Computing Machinery

Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Contact: Virginia Gold




Team From Livermore National Laboratory and IBM Opens Potential for New Paradigm in Supercomputer Design

New York, December 12, 2007 -- ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) presented the 2007 ACM Gordon Bell Prize to a team of scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and IBM for a unique simulation of a phenomenon known as Kelvin-Helmholtz instability on the BlueGene/L, the world’s fastest supercomputer.  By performing extremely large-scale molecular dynamics simulations, the team was able to study for the first time how this instability develops from its origins at the minute atomic scale up to the scale of hydrodynamics.  The insights gained during the course of the research project enable supercomputers powered by hundreds of thousands of processors to operate at the highest levels of performance.  The findings open the door to new designs for supercomputers, which are expected to use millions of CPUs (central processing units).   The ACM Gordon Bell Prize, which recognizes outstanding achievement in high performance computing, was presented at SC07, the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis, in November.

            The winning entry, titled “Extending Stability Beyond CPU Millennium: A Micron-Scale Simulation of Kelvin-Helmholtz Instability,” was presented by James N. Glosli of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  Other team members included Kyle J. Caspersen, David F. Richards, Robert E. Rudd, and team leader Frederick H. Streitz, all of Livermore, and John A. Gunnels of IBM.  The prize carries a financial award of $10,000, which is funded by an endowment established at ACM by Gordon Bell, a pioneer in high-performance and parallel computing.

            This simulation of unprecedented resolution was made possible by an innovative computation technique which uses the application itself to help correct the inevitable hardware failures that arise when large numbers of processors are involved.  By allowing the application to participate in the error-correcting process, a greater degree of robustness and flexibility can be attained.  These advances in high performance computing are useful in ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear deterrent without nuclear testing. 

About the ACM Gordon Bell Prizes
The ACM Gordon Bell Prizes are awarded each year 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.  The ACM Gordon Bell Prizes were established in 1987.  They have been part of the ACM awards program since 2006.

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is an educational and scientific society uniting the world’s computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the 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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