Theta was built onsite at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), a DOE Office of Science User Facility, where it will operate alongside Mira, an IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer. Both machines are fully dedicated to supporting a wide range of scientific and engineering research campaigns. Theta, an Intel-Cray system, entered production on July 1.
The new supercomputer will immediately begin supporting several 2017-2018 DOE Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) Leadership Computing Challenge (ALCC) projects. The ALCC is a major allocation programme that supports scientists from industry, academia, and national laboratories working on advancements in targeted DOE mission areas. Theta will also support projects from the ALCF Data Science Programme, ALCF's discretionary award programme, and, eventually, the DOE's Innovative and Novel Computing Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) programme - the major means by which the scientific community gains access to the DOE's fastest supercomputers dedicated to open science.
Designed in collaboration with Intel and Cray, Theta is a 9.65-petaflops system based on the second-generation Intel Xeon Phi processor and Cray's high-performance computing software stack. Capable of nearly 10 quadrillion calculations per second, Theta will enable researchers to break new ground in scientific investigations that range from modelling the inner workings of the brain to developing new materials for renewable energy applications.
"Theta's unique architectural features represent a new and exciting era in simulation science capabilities", stated ALCF Director of Science Katherine Riley. "These same capabilities will also support data-driven and machine-learning problems, which are increasingly becoming significant drivers of large-scale scientific computing."
Now that Theta is available as a production resource, researchers can apply for computing time through the facility's various allocation programmes . Although the INCITE and ALCC calls for proposals recently closed, researchers can apply for Director's Discretionary awards at any time.