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Livermore Lab breaks ground on $9.9 million supercomputing center

Facility to meet growing demand for high performance computing

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory broke ground Thursday on a modular and sustainable supercomputing facility that modernize Livermore's computing infrastructure and meet growing demand.

The $9.875 million building, located on the Laboratory's east side, provide a flexible infrastructure able to accommodate the Lab's increased needs for high performance computing (HPC).

It will also ensure computer room space to support the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program's unclassified HPC systems. ASC is the high-performance simulation effort of the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) stockpile stewardship program to ensure the safety, security and reliability of the nation's nuclear deterrent without testing.

"Unclassified high performance computing is critical to the stockpile stewardship program's success and the need for this capability will continue to grow," said Bill Goldstein, Livermore Lab's director.

"Modernizing the Lab's computing infrastructure will enable us to better exploit next-generation supercomputers for NNSA by tapping the talents of top academic and private sector partners," he added.

Bob Meisner, program director for ASC, agreed.

"The ASC Program always has believed that forward-thinking programs depend on labs being healthy and able to engage bright minds in solving tough problems," he said. "For this reason, we have encouraged strong unclassified computing environments, which not only build a powerful and broad science and technology base vital to the success of stewardship, but also facilitate collaboration with universities like the ASC Alliance Centers, other government agencies and American industry."

The new building addresses a pressing need for space designed to accommodate a variety of high performance computing architectures, including water cooled systems. Computing buildings at Lawrence Livermore range from 10 to 60 years in age and most were not designed to house HPC systems. These aging structures have inherent limitations that make upgrades to their electrical and mechanical infrastructures prohibitively expensive.

The new dual-level unclassified building -- to be called Bldg. 654 Livermore Computing Complex -- will consist of a 6,000-square foot machine floor flanked by support space. The main computer structure is flexible in design to allow for expansion and accommodate future computer technology advances. The ceiling height will assure proper forced air circulation and allow for the installation of utilities and HPC systems.

Construction of the building is expected to take about a year. M&W Architects and Engineers designed the facility and WE Lyons is the construction contractor.

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