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LLNL’s New ‘Ruby’ Supercomputer Taps Intel for COVID-19 Research

LLNL Ruby System Intel
The Ruby supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was built in collaboration with Intel, Supermicro and Cornelis Networks. The system consists of more than 1,500 nodes, each outfitted with Intel Xeon Scalable processors, and features 192 gigabytes of memory. (Credit: LLNL)

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Intel today announced that Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) will leverage Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors in “Ruby,” its latest high performance computing cluster. The Ruby system will be used for unclassified programmatic work in support of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) stockpile stewardship mission, for researching therapeutic drugs and designer antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and for other open science work at LLNL.

Ruby was built in collaboration with Intel, LLNL, Supermicro and Cornelis Networks. The system consists of more than 1,500 nodes, each outfitted with Intel Xeon Scalable processors, and features 192 gigabytes of memory. Ruby will deliver 6 petaflops of peak performance and is expected to rank among the world’s top 100 most powerful supercomputers.

Ruby Supercomputer and COVID-19 Work

The Ruby supercomputer will help solve scientific challenges across many disciplines. The system is ideal for running molecular docking calculations that are used in areas such as therapeutic drug research. LLNL researchers recently began using Ruby to identify candidate compounds capable of binding to protein sites in the structure of SARS-CoV-2. This small molecule work could inform vaccine development and help researchers with drug discovery efforts related to COVID-19.

Additional applications for Ruby include large-scale simulations of plasma dynamics and neutron production at LLNL’s MegaJOuLe Neutron Imaging Radiography system and simulations for inertial confinement fusion research conducted at the National Ignition Facility and Sandia National Laboratories’ Z-machine facility. The system will also be used for researching asteroid detection, moon formation, high-fidelity fission and other basic science through LLNL’s Computing Grand Challenge and Laboratory Directed Research and Development programs.

“Our longstanding partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory continues to drive tremendous advancements in scientific research and discovery across a range of applications,” said Trish Damkroger, vice president and general manager of high performance computing at Intel. “We are excited to see the Ruby supercomputer now contributing to COVID-19 research.”

The Ruby supercomputer is funded by NNSA’s Advanced Simulation and Computing program, the Laboratory’s Multi-programmatic and Institutional Computing program, and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

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