From Karlsruhe Institute of Technology – KIT: “KIT’s Supercomputer Is Excellent in All Respects”

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KIT

08.05.2017
Dr. Felix Mescoli
Pressereferent
Tel.: +49 721 608 48120
Fax: +49 721 608 43658
felix mescoli∂kit edu

KIT’s New Computing Center with Its High-performance Computer Is Granted Energy Efficiency Prize – Researchers from All over Germany Can Use the Petaflop System

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The ForHLR II high-performance supercomputer at KIT

The new supercomputer of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) not only is very fast, but also very economical. The high-performance computer ForHLR II that started operation last year has now reached the first place in the German Computing Center Prize category of “Newly built energy- and resource-efficient computing centers”. It has more than 24,000 processor cores and is equipped with a highly energy-efficient cooling system. The costs of the computer amounted to EUR 26 million.

The project was funded by the state of Baden-Württemberg and the Federal Republic of Germany at equal shares: “ForHLR II plays an important role in our state’s strategy for supercomputing. And, of course, I am very pleased that it is a green product. It is another example of performance being compatible with resource efficiency,” Baden-Württemberg Minister of Science, Theresia Bauer, says.

“Whoever wants to be at the cutting edge of international research needs highest computing and storage capacity,” the President of KIT, Professor Holger Hanselka, says. “Here, highest computing capacity and latest visualization technology for modern simulation methods are combined with a very small energy consumption in line with the strategy of KIT. This reflects our strength of research in the society’s relevant areas of demand.”

“Without the support by the Ministry for Science, Research, and the Arts and the Minister herself, it would have been impossible to make energy efficiency a focus of the project,” says Professor Bernhard Neumair, Director of the Steinbuch Centre for Computing (SCC). Operation of the high-performance computer is integrated perfectly into KIT’s energy supply concept based on co-generation.

Science today produces strongly increasing data volumes that do not only have to be processed and stored, but also visualized. Researchers from all over Germany can use ForHLR II, a petaflop system with more than 1,170 nodes, more than 24,000 processor cores, and 75 terabytes of main memory. One petaflop corresponds to one quadrillion computing operations per second. ForHLR II’s capacity exceeds that of ForHLR I that started operation in 2014 by a factor of 2.5.

The new computing center building is equipped with latest technology for highly energy-efficient warm water cooling up to 45°C. During the cold season, the waste heat of the system is used to heat the office building. All through the year, reliable cooling of all hot system components is ensured. The system does not need any energy-intensive additional cooling machines. For components that still require classical cold air cooling, a district cooling network based on trigeneration is being established at Campus North of KIT. As a result, economic and environmental efficiency will be even more increased.

According to Professor Rudolf Lohner of SCC, design of an environmentally efficient cooling system in one of the warmest areas of Germany was a particular challenge. Lohner accompanied the project from the start through to implementation and coordinated it in the final phase. So-called wet coolers, in which water evaporates on the surface of cooling elements and cools the content, are not suited due to their high maintenance expenditure during pollen flight and their susceptibility to bacteria colonization. “Hence, we had to use dry coolers.” Their small cooling capacity was compensated by the size of construction.

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Excellent energy efficiency: Project coordinator Rudolf Lohner was handed over the Computing Center Prize. (Photo: Marconing)

Lohner points out that many aspects associated with the planning and building of such a complex computing center were mastered in close cooperation with partners and other units of KIT only. “This highest recognition of our successful project by a Germany-wide expert panel reflects the successful growing together of KIT and use of the synergies produced,” he thinks.

The German Computing Center Prize is granted every year at Germany’s biggest computing center congress future thinking. This year, it took place in Darmstadt on April 25 and 26.

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) pools its three core tasks of research, higher education, and innovation in a mission. With about 9,300 employees and 25,000 students, KIT is one of the big institutions of research and higher education in natural sciences and engineering in Europe.

KIT – The Research University in the Helmholtz Association

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Mission Statement of KIT

Preamble

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, briefly referred to as KIT, was established by the merger of the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe GmbH and the Universität Karlsruhe (TH) on October 01, 2009. KIT combines the tasks of a university of the state of Baden-Württemberg with those of a research center of the Helmholtz Association in the areas of research, teaching, and innovation.

The KIT merger represents the consistent continuation of a long-standing close cooperation of two research and education institutions rich in tradition. The University of Karlsruhe was founded in 1825 as a Polytechnical School and has developed to a modern location of research and education in natural sciences, engineering, economics, social sciences, and the humanities, which is organized in eleven departments. The Karlsruhe Research Center was founded in 1956 as the Nuclear Reactor Construction and Operation Company and has turned into a multidisciplinary large-scale research center of the Helmholtz Association, which conducts research under eleven scientific and engineering programs.

In 2014/15, the KIT concentrated on an overarching strategy process to further develop its corporate strategy. This mission statement as the result of a participative process was the first element to be incorporated in the strategy process.

Mission Statement of KIT

KIT combines the traditions of a renowned technical university and a major large-scale research institution in a very unique way. In research and education, KIT assumes responsibility for contributing to the sustainable solution of the grand challenges that face the society, industry, and the environment. For this purpose, KIT uses its financial and human resources with maximum efficiency. The scientists of KIT communicate the contents and results of their work to society.

Engineering sciences, natural sciences, the humanities, and social sciences make up the scope of subjects covered by KIT. In high interdisciplinary interaction, scientists of these disciplines study topics extending from the fundamentals to application and from the development of new technologies to the reflection of the relationship between man and technology. For this to be accomplished in the best possible way, KIT’s research covers the complete range from fundamental research to close-to-industry, applied research and from small research partnerships to long-term large-scale research projects. Scientific sincerity and the striving for excellence are the basic principles of our activities.

Worldwide exchange of knowledge, large-scale international research projects, numerous global cooperative ventures, and cultural diversity characterize and enrich the life and work at KIT. Academic education at KIT is guided by the principle of research-oriented teaching. Early integration into interdisciplinary research projects and international teams and the possibility of using unique research facilities open up exceptional development perspectives for our students.

The development of viable technologies and their use in industry and the society are the cornerstones of KIT’s activities. KIT supports innovativeness and entrepreneurial culture in various ways. Moreover, KIT supports a culture of creativity, in which employees and students have time and space to develop new ideas.

Cooperation of KIT employees, students, and members is characterized by mutual respect and trust. Achievements of every individual are highly appreciated. Employees and students of KIT are offered equal opportunities irrespective of the person. Family-friendliness is a major objective of KIT as an employer. KIT supports the compatibility of job and family. As a consequence, the leadership culture of KIT is also characterized by respect and cooperation. Personal responsibility and self-motivation of KIT employees and members are fostered by transparent and participative decisions, open communication, and various options for life-long learning.

The structure of KIT is tailored to its objectives in research, education, and innovation. It supports flexible, synergy-based cooperation beyond disciplines, organizations, and hierarchies. Efficient services are rendered to support KIT employees and members in their work.

Young people are our future. Reliable offers and career options excellently support KIT’s young scientists and professionals in their professional and personal development.

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