ISSN 2330-717X

Launched Europe’s Fastest Supercomputer SuperMUC


On 20th July 2012, SuperMUC, Europe’s fastest and extremely energy-efficient supercomputer with a peak capacity of more than 3 petaflops, was inaugurated by the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. SuperMUC was already included in the 4th PRACE Regular Call for Proposals and 200 million of SuperMUC’s core hours (out of the 1.134 million core hours for the entire Call) were allocated to top-level research projects. The Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) that runs SuperMUC added the inauguration to the festivities surrounding its 50th anniversary.

SuperMUC is the number 4 on the world-wide TOP500 of fastest supercomputers as of 18th June 2012, and is an IBM System x iDataPlex consisting of 155.000 cores. With peak capacity of more than 3 petaflops it can perform 3 quadrillion calculations per second (a quadrillion is a 1 with 15 zeros!). Researchers using the power of SuperMUC also have 330 Terabyte of main memory at their disposal. The interconnect is a non-blocking InfiniBand Network with Fat Tree topology.

Professor Arndt Bode, Director of LRZ, underlined the userfriendliness of the system: “SuperMUC’s processors are equipped with a standard instruction set architecture, equivalent to that used on laptops, PCs and servers. This makes it much easier to program SuperMUC than many other supercomputers whose special accelerators require much more effort in adapting software.”

SuperMUC needs considerably less power than other computers of comparable performance. According to Prof. Bode, this is “Due to its novel direct warm water cooling infrastructure, SuperMUC is extremely energy-efficient. The processors and the main memory are directly cooled with warm water and no additional cooling infrastructure is necessary. The cooling concept was developed by IBM specifically for SuperMUC. In addition, the Intel processors and the system software delivered to LRZ offer further opportunities to save energy.”

The Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS) consolidates the three national supercomputing centres HLRS (High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart), JSC (Jülich Supercomputing Centre), and LRZ (Leibniz Supercomputing Centre, Garching) into Germany’s Tier-0 Supercomputing institution. SuperMUC, which is run by LRZ, was included in the 4th PRACE Regular Call for Proposals. This call closed on the 30th of May 2012 and allocated 200 million of SuperMUC’s core hours to science projects in three disciplines: Astrophysics (73.875.000 core hours), Engineering & Energy (72.375.000 core hours), and Chemistry & Materials (53.750.000 core hours).

Dr. Maria Ramalho, Managing Director of PRACE: “PRACE is proud to have Europe’s fastest supercomputer in the PRACE portfolio. Top-level research projects have been allocated core hours on SuperMUC and I think many would agree with me if I say that I am tremendously curious about the results. I congratulate LRZ with this achievement and of course as well with its 50th anniversary: Happy Birthday!”

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