Supercomputer Theta is officially ready to operate alongside the IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer, Mira at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF). The supercomputers are to be used exclusively for projects in engineering and research that require high computing power. They lead up to the opening of an even bigger supercomputer, Aurora.
The computers will be used to explore topics in climate science, particle-accelerators, biological sciences, materials, transportation efficiency, chemistry, cosmology, and energy storage. Just last year, company VERIFI was awarded 60-million core hours to work with Mira on creating and analyzing up to 100,000 engine simulations at a time.
Theta will be used to support several projects in the 2017-2018 DOE Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) Leadership Computing Challenge (ALCC) programs. It contains more than 230,000 parallel cores and almost 700 TB of memory, alone. With a performance of 9.65 Petaflops, it can perform close to 10 quadrillion operations every second, same as Mira.
Since the computer is an Intel-Cray system, it uses a processor based off the 2nd generation Intel Xeon Phi. The processor uses MCDRAM--a high-bandwidth DRAM on a 3D chip made of computationally interconnected stacked wafers. It can be combined with DDR4 RAM to supply max speeds of 300-450 GB/s. DRAM stands for dynamic random access memory; it can store massive amounts of data but loses it when power is removed.