The Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ), in collaboration with IBM, has announced the world’s first commercially available hot-water cooled supercomputer, a powerful, high-performance system designed to help researchers and industrial institutions across Europe investigate and solve some of the world’s most daunting scientific challenges.
The new LRZ “SuperMUC” system was built with IBM System x iDataPlex Direct Water Cooled dx360 M4 servers with more than 150 000 cores to provide a peak performance of up to three petaflops, which is equivalent to the work of more than 110 000 personal computers. Put another way, 3-billion people using a pocket calculator would have to perform 1-million operations per second each to reach equivalent SuperMUC performance. Also, a revolutionary new form of hot-water cooling technology invented by IBM allows the system to be built 10 times more compact and substantially improve its peak performance while consuming 40 percent less energy than a comparable air-cooled machine.
“This year all the electricity consumed by state-funded institutions across Germany are required to purchase 100% sustainable energy,” says Prof Dr Arndt Bode, chairman of the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre. “SuperMUC will help us keep our commitment, while giving the scientific community a best-in-class system to test theories, design experiments and predict outcomes as never before.”
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. IBM scientists and developers chose to address this challenge with an innovative concept of hot-water cooling, which eliminates the need for conventional data centre air cooling systems. IBM’s hot-water cooling technology directly cools active components in the system such as processors and memory modules with coolant temperatures that can reach as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit, or 45 degrees Celsius.
“As we continue to deliver on our long-term vision of a zero emission data centre we may eventually achieve a million fold reduction in the size of SuperMUC, so that it can be reduced to the size of a desktop computer with a much higher efficiency than today,” says Dr Bruno Michel, manager: advanced thermal packaging at IBM Research.
SuperMUC combines its hot-water cooling capability, which removes heat 4,000 times more efficiently than air, with 18 000 energy-efficient Intel Xeon processors. In addition to helping with scientific discovery, the integration of hot-water cooling and IBM application-oriented, dynamic systems management software, allows energy to be captured and reused to heat the buildings during the Winter on the sprawling Leibniz Supercomputing Centre campus, for savings of 1- million Euros ($1,25-million) per year.
The SuperMUC system is Europe’s fastest computer.