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High-performance computing as a new dimension


Topping out ceremony and computer upgrade at HLRS from the University of Stuttgart

Five months after the laying of the foundation stone the topping out ceremony for the new training and coaching centre was able to take place on 23rd October 2015 at the High-Performance Computing Centre at the University of Stuttgart (HLRS). At almost exactly the same time the HLRS has upgraded its super computer installation once again.

The new HLRS super computer – called Hazel Hen – is currently the most efficient computer system in the whole of Germany. The CRAY XC40 system has 185,088 calculating kernels and supplies a maximum processing power of 7.42 petaflops (7.42 quadrillion computer operations per second), which means approximately double the maximum value of the previous system.

Professor Wolfram Ressel, Rector of the University of Stuttgart, emphasised: “With the computer upgrade and the training facilities for high-performance computing, the University of Stuttgart has further extended its position as leading science centre for simulation technology in Germany and Europe.“

Europe’s largest further training facility for high-performance computing

With the new training and coaching centre, the HLRS is creating space for the integration of research, development, production and teaching as well as for the further training of its users from all over the world. “With around 800 participants annually, HLRS is Europe’s largest further training facility for high-performance computing“, according to Professor Michael Resch, Director of the High-Performance Computing Centre Stuttgart.

The building with a gross floor area of 2,003 square metres creates a new 254 square metre training room with state-of-the-art IT equipment in a fully integrated environment. The training participants can access the training systems interactively directly next to the high-performance computing systems. The front forum serves as a foyer and to cater for large events. Along with office space, adjoining rooms and technical areas are accommodated on the floors. The new centre is to be commissioned in October 2016. The construction costs of almost 6 million Euros will be completely borne by the university.

Most efficient computer system in Germany

Hazel Hen, the new flagship computer of HLRS, is the upgrade of the super computer configuration known up to now as “Hornet“. It is equipped with the latest generation of Intel Xeon high-performance processors that are connected to each other via the Cray Aries System Interconnect. The system now comprises 41 cabinets with 7,712 computing nodes. Another 32 cabinets with around 8,300 hard disks have been installed for Hazel Hen as a data storage system, which can be accessed with read and write speeds of over 350 gigabytes per second. In total the users of the HLRS system environment now have over 11 petabytes disk capacity available to store their data.

First user applications supplied excellent results

Before the super computer was declared “released“, users from notable research facilities tested Hazel Hen extensively with real projects in terms of performance and scalability. In this respect scientists from RWTH Aachen performed calculations, for example in the framework of the DFG-special research area “oxy-flame“ (SFB/Transregio 129), with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions from conventional coal-fired power stations by using oxy-fuel technology. Calculating relevant scenarios is extremely complex since coal dust particles are not spherical and their motion behaviour is therefore difficult to predict.

Researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT and the Institute of Materials and Processes (IMP) from the University of Karlsruhe used the Stuttgart computer capacities for highly complex numerical simulations of solidification processes in material research.

“The approval of Cray XC40 has shown that we have been able once again to make an excellent system available for our users“, Professor Michael Resch was pleased to say. “The first user applications supplied excellent results and we are confident that we will also be able to expect further technical simulation highlights in the future.“

With the installation of Hazel Hen HLRS performed the last step of the system installation in the framework of the current procurement plan of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) under the involvement of the states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and North-Rhine Westphalia. This defined the successive extension of the three German federal high-performance computer centres HLRS, Leibniz Computer Centre in Garching/Munich and Jülich Supercomputing Centre with HPC systems of the highest performance category with the aim of securing the competitiveness of Germany in the world-wide HPC competition.

Further information on Hazel Hen:
Photos of the topping out ceremony:

Dr Hans-Herwig Geyer, University of Stuttgart, Head of University Communication and Press Spokesperson,
Tel. 0711/685-82555, Email: hans-herwig.geyer (at)

Andrea Mayer-Grenu | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

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