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The Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) in Garching, Germany has signed a contract with IBM to develop and build a new general purpose supercomputer with next generation Intel Xeon processors to support advanced scientific research. The system will use innovative hot water cooling technology to consume 40% less energy than a comparable air-cooled machine. The system will be more powerful than today's highest-performance supercomputer that uses both microprocessors and graphics processors to achieve 2.5PetaFLOPS of performance.

In order to make performance of SuperMUC supercomputer available to a broad range of users with diverse applications, LRZ will build the general purpose system based on the IBM System x iDataPlex with more than 14 000 next-generation Intel Xeon processors, which is a surprisingly low number.  SuperMUC will achieve peak performance of up of 3 quadrillion (1015) floating point operations a second (FLOPS), or 3PetaFLOPS. Unfortunately, it is unclear when the Supa

SuperMUC will use innovative water cooling to eliminate the need for conventional data-centre cooling systems. Up to 50% of an average air-cooled data centre's energy consumption and carbon footprint today is not caused by computing, but by powering the necessary cooling systems to keep the server from overheating. SuperMUC combines water cooling - which typically removes heat 4000 times more efficiently than air – with energy efficient Intel processors and application oriented, dynamic systems management to reduce energy consumption even further.

It is noteworthy that IBM, Intel and LRZ managed to develop a supercomputer with 3PFLOPS performance based only on central processing units for Intel. Three out of five Top 5 supercomputers are hybrid, they use both CPUs as well as Nvidia Tesla 2000-series compute boards. Such systems not only deliver whopping performance, but also ensures relatively low power consumption of such systems compared to CPU only-based supercomputers.

"SuperMUC will provide previously unattainable energy efficiency along with peak performance by exploiting the massive parallelism of Intel’s multi-core processors and leveraging the innovative hot water cooling technology pioneered by IBM. This approach will allow the industry to develop ever more powerful supercomputers while keeping energy use in check," said. Arndt Bode, chairman of the board of directors of LRZ.

The SuperMUC supercomputer will enable LRZ’s scientific community to test theories, design experiments and predict outcomes as never before. The supercomputer will be jointly funded by the German federal government and the state of Bavaria. Within the LRZ, a wide spectrum of research areas is being handled, from cosmology and the origins of the universe, through to seismology and the prediction of earthquake tremors.

“Intel's unique partnership with IBM, together with our next generation microprocessor technology, has led to the development of the most innovative, capable and energy efficient supercomputing solution. We are thrilled to be part of this collaboration with IBM and LRZ and believe that it will set a new standard for general purpose academic and government supercomputing installations," said Rajeeb Hazra, general manager of high performance computing at Intel.

SuperMUC is a part of the partnership for advanced computing in Europe (PRACE) HPC infrastructure for researchers and industrial institutions throughout Europe.

Tags: Intel, IBM, HPC

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