National Centre for High Performance Computing to be established at FAU

Processors and code

Federal and state funding for the next ten years

The Joint Science Conference (GWK) of the German federal states announced at its meeting on 13 November 2020 that FAU will receive funds to establish a National Centre for High Performance Computing (NHR). The National Centre for High Performance Computing (NHR@FAU) will open on 1 January 2021, as part of a nationwide network with seven other centres. The federal and state governments will provide a total of up to 625 million euros in funding for an initial period of 10 years.

Science minister Bernd Sibler emphasised the importance of the announcement. ‘Today’s decision by GWK proves that the Free State of Bavaria is an outstanding location for technology. Making the renowned Erlangen Regional Computing Centre into a NHR Centre will create a future hotspot for scientific computing in North Bavaria. By doing so we can improve the framework conditions for research using powerful computers and strengthen the entire state of Bavaria as a cutting-edge location for high performance computing.’

Scientific support for broad application groups, promoting the further development of HPC techniques and tools, and training and education activities will also be funded in addition to HPC systems and operating costs. This is the first time that funding is provided not only for computer hardware but also for operating and staff costs in the area of research and advice.

‘With the new NHR@FAU centre, our university will become one of the leading locations for high performance computing in Germany. FAU can build on its international reputation for scientific computing, whilst the researchers will benefit in particular from the intensive and successful cooperation between computer science and application fields. In the long term, the centre will also open up completely new possibilities for research, teaching, and learning in machine learning and artificial intelligence,’ says Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger, FAU President.

Within the NHR network, FAU will contribute its internationally recognised expertise in complex simulations of atoms and molecules, hardware-efficient parallel programming, and HPC training. Interdisciplinary activities in these areas are already represented at FAU within the Atomistic Structure Simulation Lab and the HPC Performance Lab.

The successful grant proposal was a joint project by a number of different disciplines at FAU, ranging from computer science to chemistry, biology, and materials science. A leading role was taken by Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wellein, professorship for High Performance Computing and head of the HPC division at Erlangen Regional Computing Centre, who submitted the proposal together with Prof. Dr. Petra Imhof, Chair of Computational Chemistry, Prof. Dr. Erik Bitzek, Chair of Materials Science (General Material Properties), Prof. Dr. Rainer Böckmann, professorship for Computational Biology, Prof. Dr. Andreas Görling, Chair of Theoretical Chemistry, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rüde, Chair of Computer Science 10 System Simulation and Prof. Dr. Heinrich Sticht, professorship for Bioinformatics.

After the proposal was reviewed by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the NHR Strategy Committee of the GWK, the GWK has now given the go-ahead for a new national centre at FAU. The other successful proposals were submitted by universities in Aachen, Berlin, Darmstadt, Dresden, Göttingen, Karlsruhe and Paderborn.

The admission into the NHR program opens new possibilities for FAU as Prof. Wellein explains: ‘Already next year we will invest almost 9 million euros in a new parallel computer, which will not only provide a massive increase in compute resources for scientists at FAU and all over Germany but can also be operated in a particularly energy-efficient way. I am particularly pleased that we will be able to establish a team that will be able to support the operation and use of the system at the highest professional level.’

Within the Free State of Bavaria, NHR@FAU will complement the resources of the Leibniz Computing Center (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. It will also help to further intensify the established cooperation between RRZE and LRZ in the field of high-performance computing. During the first five years, the funding for the centre will be borne equally by the Free State of Bavaria and the federal government.

The GWK press release is available on the Science Conference’s website.

Further information on high performance computing at FAU is available on RRZE website.

Further information

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wellein
Professorship for High Performance Computing
Phone: +49 9131 85 28136