Kestrel Computing System

The Kestrel high-performance computing (HPC) system—expected to be operating in fiscal year 2023— will expand NREL's supercomputing capacity to 44 petaflops.

Countdown to Kestrel Blog

Read timely information on the installation of NREL's Kestrel HPC system.

Kestrel: Why Speed Matters

July 18, 2023
There are a lot of numbers and terms when it comes to the new Kestrel HPC system. 44 petaflops; 2,456 nodes; 95 petabytes; we could go on. Beyond the numbers, Kestrel represents a significant expansion in the capabilities and computing power for NREL and its partners at the U.S. Department of Energy and beyond. With faster, more robust computing capabilities, Kestrel will allow energy research at NREL to soar to the next level.

In a short video, hear why Kestrel’s impressive speed really matters, according to Surendra Sunkari, NREL HPC engineer and Kestrel technical lead.


Kestrel: Why GPUs Matter

July 6, 2023
There are a lot of numbers and terms when it comes to the new Kestrel HPC system. 44 petaflops; 2,456 nodes; 95 petabytes; we could go on. Beyond the numbers, Kestrel represents a significant expansion in the capabilities and computing power for NREL and its partners at the U.S. Department of Energy and beyond. With faster, more robust computing capabilities, Kestrel will allow energy research at NREL to soar to the next level.

In a short video, hear why Kestrel's advanced capabilities really matter, according to Aaron Andersen, group manager of Advanced Computing Operations with NREL's Computational Science Center.


Birds of a Feather Build Kestrel Together

June 28, 2023
Building Kestrel has been a massive, coordinated effort. Read about Kestrel’s supporting cast bringing Kestrel to NREL.


Kestrel: Why Power Matters

June 21, 2023
There are a lot of numbers and terms when it comes to the new Kestrel HPC system. 44 petaflops; 2,456 nodes; 95 petabytes; we could go on. Beyond the numbers, Kestrel represents a significant expansion in the capabilities and computing power for NREL and its partners at the U.S. Department of Energy and beyond. With faster, more robust computing capabilities, Kestrel will allow energy research at NREL to soar to the next level.

In a short video, hear why Kestrel’s power really matters, according to Kristin Munch, NREL’s Advanced Computing laboratory program manager.


Kestrel Is Soaring into Place

June 15, 2023
The team continues to put Kestrel into place, preparing for full operation later this summer. Everything is coming together. Watch our newest video highlighting the technical team as they continue this amazing journey to help Kestrel take flight.


A VIP Visit and Celebration for Kestrel

May 22, 2023
Today was a very exciting day for Kestrel! U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm visited the NREL campus to help showcase and celebrate the laboratory's new campus expansion projects. Among many exciting activities of the day, the secretary joined NREL staff and representatives from Hewlett Packard Enterprise to sign the supercomputer!

Secretary Granholm signs the side banner of a supercomputer

The honorable Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Secretary of Energy, signs a banner on the Kestrel supercomputer. Photo by Sophia Faraca

"What an amazing opportunity to have Secretary Granholm celebrate Kestrel with us," said Kristin Munch, NREL's Advanced Computing laboratory program manager. "Our team was honored to have this opportunity to showcase Kestrel and celebrate the next chapter of supercomputing capabilities for NREL and the U.S. Department of Energy. We're grateful to the many NREL staff, media, and distinguished guests who participated in today's activities."

Thank you to Secretary Granholm and the many other distinguished visitors who visited NREL today to celebrate Kestrel and other campus expansions. Learn more about NREL's campus expansion.

People talk standing next to cables and computer racks inside a computing center.

Secretary Granholm gets a behind-the-scenes look at the new Kestrel high-performance computing (HPC) system in the Energy Systems Integration Facility at NREL. Photo by Werner Slocum


Kestrel by the Numbers

May 10, 2023
44 petaflops.
95 petabytes of data storage.
604 terabytes of total memory.
Kestrel will make our research faster and more efficient than ever. See how Kestrel stacks-up by the numbers.


Now That the Hard(ware) Part's Over…

May 2, 2023
Kestrel is now in the final stages of hardware installation, and the team is working out final network configurations and access points for the compute and storage parts of Kestrel as the whole system gets integrated into the Energy Systems Integration Facility data center. "This part of the installation is critical as we make sure all the hardware components are working as expected and that Kestrel's internal network is configured as well as its connectivity to the rest of the data center. Taking the time to get things right now will make all the difference down the line," said Surendra Sunkari, the Kestrel installation technical lead.


Ready, Willing, and Cabled

April 11, 2023
Kestrel is now fully cabled, and all compute nodes are connected to the high-speed network and storage. The doors were hung, and the graphics were applied. Kestrel is taking shape!

computer racks with cables in front.

Kestrel cabling was underway this week. Photo by Bill Honeycutt.

Over the course of Kestrel’s initial setup, we shot a timelapse video of the process.

Timelapse video of the crew cabling Kestrel.


We See You CPUs…

A row of computer cabinets with the word Kestrel written on them.

April 3, 2023
Kestrel's CPU nodes are now placed in NREL's HPC Data Center in the Energy Systems Integration Facility data center, with preliminary power and cooling tests ongoing including flowing water from the facility to the cooling distribution units. The storage dedicated to Kestrel has also moved in, with nearly 9,000 hard drives installed last week. The team is starting to cable the network to connect all of Kestrel's components and performing component level diagnostics.


Kestrel Has Entered the Laboratory

March 27, 2023
It's here! On a snowy and chilly Colorado morning, the trucks arrived right on schedule to deliver the Kestrel elements to NREL's main gate.

Semi trucks lined up on a snowy road at the NREL main gate.

Trucks arrive at NREL to deliver the Kestrel supercomputer. Photo by Kris Munch.

After initial safety briefings, the operations team got right to work to move equipment from the trucks into NREL’s data center, the future landing place for Kestrel.

A collage of workers in the data center with the Kesrel supercomputer.

The team moves the boxes and Kestrel elements into place in NREL's data center. Photos by Jennifer Southerland.

The team will continue building Kestrel over the coming months, conducting further software testing, and incorporating the next equipment deliveries to power our most comprehensive and transformative energy solutions yet.

Timelapse video of the Kestrel supercomputer arriving at NREL on March 27, 2023.


Preparations for Kestrel's Arrival in the Data Center

A technician on a ladder works in the data center

March 9, 2023
Yesterday, Encore Electric wrapped up the final wire installation, providing almost 2 megawatts of electrical distribution to a single row of computing equipment. Roy Fraley and Chris Burke are now able to install a basket tray that will allow us to connect the storage system to the compute cabinets.

"Systems of the size and scale of Kestrel don't just plug into the wall like your laptop, so kudos are in order to Site Ops, ESIF Ops, Encore Electric, and the ACO team, all doing a great job getting the data center prepared," explains Aaron Andersen, group manager of Advanced Computing Operations with NREL's Computational Science Center.


An Early Glimpse At Kestrel in Wisconsin

Feb. 28, 2023
Several team members visited the Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) factory in Wisconsin in mid-February to get a final review of the Kestrel Phase 1 before it ships to NREL. The team was able to check out the facility connections for the power and cooling infrastructure on Kestrel and validate the system's operations in HPE's data center, including logging in to the system for the first time.

"Getting an early look at these connections and verifying the power components while in factory is critical to ensuring a smooth install when it arrives at NREL," explains Roy Fraley, high-performance computing data center engineer with NREL's Computational Science Center.


Test and Development System, Eyas, Arrives at NREL Ahead of Kestrel

Jan. 6, 2023
At last! Kestrel is about to hatch…or rather, its baby sibling, Eyas.

The first pieces of the "test and development" system, Eyas, arrived at NREL in late December and the team has now gotten to work. Eyas is a much smaller system that will help NREL's team of computer scientists prepare for the large-scale installation and operations of Kestrel before it arrives in March. Eyas will help the team improve cyber-security posture, test software, and prepare the environment ahead of the full Kestrel build.

The system team is elated to finally have hands on the first components of the new system.

"Eyas has proven exceptionally valuable as we have been able to identify some issues in the software stack, correct those and provide hands on training to staff ensuring that common NREL models and applications are ready for the Kestrel system", said Aaron Andersen, group manager of Advanced Computing Operations with the Kestrel project.

A photo of three people standing in a computer server room and computers internal parts.
NREL's Kestrel team work on the test system, Eyas, to prepare for the eventual arrival of Kestrel. Photo by Aaron Andersen.


Supply Chain Disruptions Delay Kestrel Arrival

Dec. 21, 2022
Not the news we wanted! The Kestrel team was notified in December 2022 that the delivery of the central processing unit (CPU) nodes for Kestrel would be delayed due to supply chain disruptions. This delay will postpone Kestrel's availability for use until mid-summer 2023.


How Does Kestrel Stack Up to NREL's Existing Eagle Supercomputer?

May 1, 2022
NREL's incoming high-performance computing system—Kestrel—will have superior advanced supercomputer capabilities compared to its predecessor, Eagle. For example, if the two were side by side on subway tracks, Kestrel would travel 5.5 times faster than Eagle.

See more real-world examples on how the Kestrel versus Eagle supercomputer stack-up.


NREL Acquires Next-Generation High Performance Computing System, Kestrel

Dec. 1, 2021
NREL publicly announces that Hewlett Packard Enterprise will build its third-generation, HPC system, called Kestrel. When Kestrel takes flight, it will help the United States soar toward a clean energy future. Read  how NREL acquired the next-generation HPC system.

The American Kestrel soaring through the air.

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