Leibniz Supercomputing Centre Selects IBM Supercomputer Equipped with Next Generation Intel® Xeon® Processors to Support Ultra-challenging Research

Innovative hot-water cooled supercomputer to deliver up to three petaflops of peak performance when online in 2012

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Garching/Munich/Stuttgart, Germany - 13 Nov 2010: The Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) in Garching, Germany has signed a contract with IBM (NYSE: 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 percent less energy than a comparable air-cooled machine.

Named "SuperMUC", the new system is part of the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) HPC infrastructure for researchers and industrial institutions throughout Europe. It 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. In order to make its performance 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.  SuperMUC will achieve peak performance of up to three petaflops. This is equivalent to the work of more than 110,000 PCs. In other words: three billion people each using a pocket calculator would have to perform one million operations per second and per person to be equivalent to SuperMUC's performance. 

SuperMUC will use innovative hot water cooling to eliminate the need for conventional datacenter cooling systems. Up to 50 percent of an average air-cooled datacenter'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 4,000 times more efficiently than air – with energy efficient Intel processors and application oriented, dynamic systems management to reduce energy consumption even further. 

"SuperMUC will provide previously unattainable energy efficiency along with peak performance by exploiting the massive parallelism of Intel’s multicore 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 Prof. Dr. Arndt Bode, Chairman of the Board of Directors of LRZ. 

As HPC systems consistently raise performance, it is essential that improvements in energy efficiency keep pace. Against this background, LRZ, IBM and Intel are creating a new more sustainable approach to HPC. IBM is contributing its experience in the development and the delivery of high-end supercomputing systems. In particular, the IBM development team in Boeblingen is contributing its deep competence in the area of energy efficiency, which has been proven in comparable projects such as the IBM Aquasar supercomputer developed by the IBM labs in Boeblingen and Zurich. 

Drawing on its industry-leading HPC experience, Intel is collaborating with IBM on the energy efficient design as well as providing the very powerful processors that will drive the machine. The workloads of SuperMUC will be handled by the high performance Intel processors in their entirety, without the use of special accelerators. LRZ, for its part, is bringing its long standing experience in the operations and the exploitation of high-end supercomputing systems. 

The LRZ is the computer center for Munich's universities and for the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. It takes care of the scientific data network in Munich, it offers a variety of data services, and it provides high-end computing facilities for the scientific community in Germany and beyond. 

"SuperMUC is part of the tradition of supercomputers at the Bavarian Academy of the sciences, delivering excellent results for a broad spectrum of scientific applications," said Prof. Dr. Dietmar Willoweit, President of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and the Humanities. "We are very excited to be teaming with IBM, Intel and other industry leaders to continue the Academy's legacy of scientific excellence and leadership." 

SuperMUC is the largest high performance computing system that IBM and Intel have collaborated on. 

Dr. Rajeeb Hazra, General Manager of High Performance Computing, Intel, said: “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." 

"With the new supercomputer, the German and European research community is getting a push to be on the forefront of international competition," said Martin Jetter, chairman of the board, IBM Germany. "Continued investment in research and development will allow us to see top research results in the future, in return. I am especially pleased by the fact that the new system is being designed and developed by experts from the IBM R&D center in Boeblingen in collaboration with their colleagues in the U.S. and Asia." 

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