ASCI White

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

ASCI White was a supercomputer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, which was briefly the fastest supercomputer in the world.[1]

Fisheye view of ASCI White

It was a computer cluster based on IBM's commercial RS/6000 SP computer. 512 nodes were interconnected for ASCI White, with each node containing sixteen 375 MHz IBM POWER3-II processors. In total, the ASCI White had 8,192 processors, 6 terabytes (TB) of memory, and 160 TB of disk storage. It was almost exclusively used for large-scale computations requiring dozens, hundreds, or thousands of processors. The computer weighed 106 tons and consumed 3 MW of electricity with a further 3 MW needed for cooling. It had a theoretical processing speed of 12.3 teraFLOPS (TFLOPS). A single modern 4U rackmount server could match these specifications while weighing under 50 kg and consuming under 2 kW of power. As of 2020, a single Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti graphics card can deliver comparable performance, at 14 TFLOPS per card.[2] The system ran IBM's AIX operating system.

ASCI White was made up of three individual systems, the 512-node White, the 28-node Ice and the 68-node Frost.

The system was built in Poughkeepsie, New York. Completed in June 2000 it was transported to specially built facilities in California and officially dedicated on August 15, 2001.[3] Its peak performance of 12.3 TFLOPS was not achieved in the widely accepted LINPACK tests. The system cost US$110 million (equivalent to $163 million in 2019).

It was built as stage three of the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI) started by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration to build a simulator to replace live WMD testing following the moratorium on testing started by President George H. W. Bush in 1992 and extended by Bill Clinton in 1993.

The machine was decommissioned beginning July 27, 2006.


  1. ^ "No. 1 system from November 2000 to November 2001". Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  2. ^ "Those Xbox Series X specs don't tell us much, do they? | TechRadar".
  3. ^ "The World's Fastest Computer - Meeting the Challenge of Stockpile Stewardship". Archived from the original on November 11, 2014.
Preceded by
2.379 teraflops
World's most powerful supercomputer
November 2000 – November 2001
Succeeded by
NEC Earth Simulator
35.86 teraflops