Technology briefs

HP builds supercomputer

Hewlett-Packard Co. and the Energy Department's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) announced last week that the lab has ordered a $24.5 million HP supercomputer that will enable researchers to apply computational science to address key scientific challenges. Once fully operational, the supercomputer should be one of the fastest in the world and the world's most powerful Linux-based supercomputer.

Consisting of 1,400 of the next generation of Intel Corp. Itanium processors, the new HP supercomputer is expected to have a peak performance of more than 8.3 teraflops, which is about 8,300 times faster than a personal computer. Calculations that currently take a month to complete could be done in one day on the new system.

It is slated to be installed at the Molecular Sciences Computing Facility in the William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a DOE scientific user facility at PNNL.

Energy lab aids bio defense

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Public Technology Inc. are partnering in an initiative to enhance local governments' ability to monitor, detect and report chemical and biological releases in the atmosphere.

The multiyear initiative — called Local Integration of the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center with Cities — will help local agencies prepare for and respond to urban terrorist attacks involving chemicals and biological weapons.

LLNL (www.llnl.gov), an Energy Department laboratory based in Livermore, Calif., began preparations with Seattle about four to five weeks ago in a pilot program, said Donald Ermak, the laboratory's Atmospheric Release Assessment Programs leader.

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