News & Opinion | July 28, 2018 5:00 am

This Supercomputer Broke a World Record

Big Science and Big Data came together to make history.

supercomputer
(YouTube)

Brad Settlemyer works as a research scientist at the Los Alamos National Lab, which hosts the Trinity supercomputer, a machine that frequently makes the internet’s ever-evolving Top 10 Fastest lists. Trinity’s main job, however, is to ensure that the cache of U.S. nuclear weapons works when it is supposed to work and doesn’t when it’s not, writes Wired, and the supercomputer also does fundamental research.

Settlemyer had a problem though. His scientific simulations created so much data that it took him forever to search for the information he needed. It was like looking for a “needle in a haystack.”

At the same time, the lab’s storage research team had been trying to solve a different problem: Creating massive numbers of files as quickly as possible. When Settlemyer found the team, they all put their heads together and ended up breaking a world record.