Installation of new supercomputers for simulation and AI

Dr. Nils Blümer (KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, v.l.), Prof. Dr. Michael Hartmann (FAU), Prof. Dr. René Peinl (HS Hof), André Singer (MEGWARE GmbH) und Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wellein (FAU) am Tag der Vertragsunterzeichnung. Ebenfalls zugegen war der Universitätsgründer der FAU, Markgraf Friedrich von Brandenburg-Bayreuth (vorne).
Left to right: Dr. Nils Blümer (KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt), Prof. Dr. Michael Hartmann (FAU), Prof. Dr. René Peinl (HS Hof), André Singer (MEGWARE GmbH) and Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wellein (FAU). Also present: Markgraf Friedrich von Brandenburg-Bayreuth, founder of the FAU.

Erlangen Center for National High-Performance Computing acquires new workhorses

The Center for National High-Performance Computing at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (NHR@FAU) has ordered the installation of two supercomputers. With the new high tech devices, the NHR location in northern Bavaria is continuing to grow, providing researchers from the whole of Germany with even more performance capacity.

Two new powerhouses are waiting in the wings: On December 14, 2023, Prof. Gerhard Wellein, director of NHR@FAU and André Singer, CEO of MEGWARE Computer Vertrieb und Service GmbH from Chemnitz Röhrsdorf signed the contract for the installation of two new high-performance computers worth a total of approximately 10 million euros. MEGWARE came out on top in the EU-wide competition involving several competitors. The systems are financed with funds from the Center for National High-Performance Computing (NHR), FAU, the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts, the Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt and Hof University of Applied Sciences.

The CPU-based computer will comprise more than 300 nodes with two AMD-CPUs of the type “Turin” (Zen 5c micro architecture with high core count) and 768 GM main storage capacity. Due to the considerable computing power they provide, the computing nodes are coupled via an NDR 200 high speed network in order to avoid causing a bottleneck during communication in complex simulation calculations. The supercomputer has been developed to deliver good performance and scalability for as wide a range of applications as possible from all research areas, and ought to be installed in the first six months of 2025.

The GPGPU counterpart will consist of more than 40 nodes, each of which will contain four NVIDIA H100 accelerator cards. This architecture is initially tailored for applications in the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence, but it is also suitable for use in atomic simulations in the fields of chemistry and life sciences. Each node is fitted with two connections to the NDR-200 network. The installation of the “AI computer” is planned for the second half of 2024. A high-performance parallel file system based on the tried and tested Lustre architecture which is already being used by the Center offers sufficient capacity, 3 Pbytes, for storing files in the short and medium term. It is connected to both clusters via a high-speed connection.

Both systems will be available to researchers from FAU and the region as well as across the whole of Germany as part of the NHR Alliance (national high-performance computing). Generally speaking, researchers have to file a project application providing a convincing outline of the necessity of the simulations to be performed and the suitability of the programs for the available computer architectures. In Erlangen, the focus will lie predominantly, but not exclusively, on research projects from the areas of chemistry, life sciences and materials sciences. In the three years since it was launched, NHR@FAU has established considerable know-how and is now in a position to provide its customers with optimal support in their projects.

Both systems will use a direct water cooling system, making them extremely energy efficient to run. Only the power supply for the GPGPU computing nodes will be cooled by air. This leads to considerable cost savings for infrastructure compared to standard, air-cooled supercomputers.

Further information:

Dr. Georg Hager


Phone: +49 9131 85 28973