A new generation of ultra-flexible modular supercomputers is about to start operation for the first time at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC) in Germany.
JUWELS (short for Jülich Wizard for European Leadership Science) is said to be a "milestone" on the road to a new generation of systems.
The Centre claims that JUWELS is different as it provides an "ultraflexible modular supercomputer" targeting a broader range of tasks than a standard supercomputing system. These tasks can be anything from big data applications right up to compute-intensive simulations.
"With its first module alone, JUWELS qualified as the best German computer for the TOP500 List of the fastest supercomputers in the world published today," said JSC.
"The system is being financed and utilized within the framework of the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing, which is funded by the federal government and the states in which the centre is located."
In addition to conventional applications like compute-intensive simulations in engineering, physics, or chemistry, supercomputers are increasingly used today for other tasks, such as the analysis of huge volumes of data or machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). This is where JUWELS comes in - to meet such widely differing requirements.
"A computer like JUWELS is not an off-the-shelf solution," said Professor Thomas Lippert, director of JSC. "But as one of the largest German research centres, we are in a position to work together with our partners Atos from France and ParTec in Germany to develop the next generation of supercomputers ourselves.
"For us, modular supercomputing is the key to a forward-looking, affordable, and energy-efficient technology, which will facilitate the realisation of forthcoming exascale systems."
Another unique feature of the module is that it has an ultra-energy-efficient warm-water cooling system, which is a patented and scalable 'BullSequana' architecture. This makes it possible to cool the bulk of the waste heat with hot water without the need for additional cooling generators by utilising the outdoor air.
The flexible design was conceived by Lippert and developed into an extensive European undertaking several years ago. It was turned into a reality in the EU research project DEEP that, since 2011, has seen input from experts from 16 European partners, coordinated by Dr. Estela Suarez from JSC.
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