Intel and IBM build super mucky supercomputer

IBM has been appointed by the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) in Germany to develop and build a new general purpose supercomputer, which will be used to support advanced scientific research, powered by Intel chips.

The supercomputer, named “SuperMUC”, will use next generation Intel Xeon processors and a new hot water cooling technology, which is said to consume 40 percent less energy than a comparable air-cooled machine. The water cooling system is said to help eliminate the need for conventional data centre cooling. It works by combining water cooling – which typically removes heat 4,000 times more efficiently than air – with Intel processors and systems management to reduce energy consumption.

It will allow LRZ’s scientific community to test theories, design experiments and predict outcomes and will be jointly funded by the German federal government and the state of Bavaria.

LRZ looks into a huge range of topics including cosmology and the origins of the universe, to seismology and the prediction of earthquake tremors. In order to make the supercomputer available to a range of users, it will be built on a general purpose system based on the IBM System x iDataPlex.

This has over 14,000 next generation Intel Xeon processors, which will help the SuperMUC achieve peak performance of up to three petaflops.

Professor Dr. Arndt Bode, Chairman of the Board of Directors of LRZ said: “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.”

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