LIVERMORE -- Lawrence Livermore Laboratory is teaming up with two other national laboratories to produce the next generation of supercomputers, lab officials said Wednesday.

The joint project -- called Collaboration of Oak Ridge, Argonne and Livermore, or CORAL -- will produce computers about 10 times faster than current high-performance computing systems, according to lab spokesman Don Johnston. They are expected to be delivered to the labs in 2017-18.

"Having more computing power allows you to take on problems that you couldn't solve before," said Johnston. "When you look at all the things involved in modeling global climate, it takes an enormous amount of data."

According to Johnston, the advanced "petascale" supercomputers will be able to perform up to 200 peak petaflops -- quadrillions of floating point operations per second. The advancement marks an "interim step" to even faster exascale systems expected to appear as prototypes as early as 2020, Johnston said.

Under the CORAL program, Livermore scientists will work with vendors to develop the computer systems that will eventually be deployed to the three labs. Livermore's system -- called Sierra -- will be used for national security and to support nuclear stockpile stewardship under the National Nuclear Security Administration's Advanced Simulation and Computing Program. Sierra will likely arrive when Sequoia, one of the world's fastest supercomputers, nears retirement, Johnston said.


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The Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois will use their supercomputers to perform missions for the Department of Energy's Office of Science, under the Advanced Scientific Computing Research program.

The NNSA and the Energy Department are funding the project.

Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.