Meet Sierra A Supercomputer in America

Level 1 Level 2

In the realm of supercomputing, Sierra at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory emerges as a powerhouse, ranked second globally in terms of computational might. Encompassing an expansive 7,000 square feet, Sierra has been operational since 2018, dedicated to multifaceted tasks, from earthquake modeling to cancer simulations and traumatic brain injury exploration.

Sierra's significance amplifies as it prepares for a critical shift. In the upcoming year, it will undergo an "air-gapped" status, severing its connection to the internet and marking the commencement of its classified mission. This mission is tied to the stewardship of the United States' aging nuclear weapons stockpile, which raises complex questions about reliability and safety. Sierra's role will involve running simulations to predict potential issues in real-world detonations, addressing the inherent challenges posed by the aging weaponry.

This development underscores the critical intersection of technology, national security, and disarmament challenges. Sierra, with its immense computational capacity, represents a pivotal tool in navigating the complexities of maintaining a nuclear arsenal while adhering to international non-proliferation commitments.


1- What global ranking does Sierra hold among supercomputers in terms of computational power?

2- What significant shift is Sierra undergoing in the upcoming year, impacting its connectivity?

3- What complex mission is Sierra gearing up for in its classified role?


You have completed the comprehension questions. 

Parts of this lesson are based on: An article Verge Science.