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GPU supercomputer simulation accelerates solar energy

Posted: 14 Jun 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:simulation? crystalline silicon? molecular simulation?

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Process Engineering (CAS-IPE) claim to have run the world's highest performing molecular simulation. The simulation was to examine improved techniques for more efficient production and use of crystalline silicon, a key material used in solar panels and the semiconductor industry.

The researchers used the Tianhe-1A, which is believed to be the world's fastest supercomputer, to perform a simulation on NVIDIA Tesla GPUs. The simulation was twice the size of the previous highest-performing molecular simulation and provided five times more performance. The simulation modeled the behavior of 110 billion atoms at an unprecedented 1.87 petaflops of performance. The previous record for a simulation of this kind was 49 billion atoms at 369 teraflops of performance.

"Computer simulations are critical to the study of new materials and production methods as it can reveal far more details than experimental measurements, at much less cost," said Dr. Wenlai Huang, research associate at CAS-IPE. "The levels of performance we achieved by using all 7,168 NVIDIA GPUs in the Tianhe-1A supercomputer enabled us to run simulations that come closer than ever to reproducing the behavior of the material in different aspects and its true bulk properties under different conditions, which are more meaningful for engineering and industrial purposes."

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