Housed in the Department of Energy’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the newly installed $21.3 million Chinook supercomputer is over a dozen times faster than its predecessor, EMSL’s MPP2. Capable of performing more than 160 trillion calculations per second, the Chinook ranks among the top 40 fastest computers in the world. The Chinook has 4620 Quad-core processors built into 2310 nodes. Each node has the equivalent of eight processor-cores and 32 gigabytes of memory.
While scientists can conduct any research that supports the DOE’s missions in energy, the environment, or national security, the Chinook is specifically geared towards computational chemistry. Of special interest is the retrieval and storage of gas hydrates, the interactions of water molecules (such as how clouds form or disperse), and the creation of green plastics with propane and catalysts.