FAU to become Bavarian AI Computing Center

Supercomputer FAU
Image: NHR@FAU

Free State investing in new infrastructure for deep learning projects

FAU is massively expanding its computing capacities for artificial intelligence (AI) applications. The Erlangen National High-Performance Computing Center is investing millions in AI cluster with cutting-edge processors. The Free State of Bavaria is providing the necessary funds within the context of the High-tech Agenda. As a result, NHR@FAU will not only become a center for expertise in computing and AI for FAU, but also for other scientific institutions across the whole of Bavaria.

“Scientific research is currently experiencing an AI boom,” according to Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wellein, head of NHR@FAU. It is therefore essential that researchers have access to adequate computing capacities.” Whilst it is true that NHR@FAU already offers modern high-performance and supercomputers for complex numerical tasks, he continues, the future requirements for AI and deep learning can only be covered by strong clusters with cutting-edge processors.

This is exactly what the Free State of Bavaria is now offering funding for: Together with the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities (LRZ) in Garching, NHR@FAU will receive up to 55 million euros in the double budget 2024/25. Wellein: “We will use the funding predominantly to purchase AI-specific hardware and operate various AI accelerators integrated into an application-oriented storage landscape.” In addition, the team at NHR@FAU will be expanded in order to be able to provide researchers with optimal advice and support for any questions they may have. “We aim to provide researchers access to our systems within 48 hours of their request, in particularly urgent cases even more quickly,” explains Wellein.

Energy efficiency also has an important role to play in the investment. The graphics processors have been optimized for AI applications not only in view of their performance but also in view of their energy consumption. In addition, NHR@FAU will cool the new hardware with warm water, thereby further reducing energy consumption. The aim is to use a maximum of ten percent of total energy requirements for cooling purposes. Work is currently underway on designing a concept for re-using the waste heat at FAU.

By investing in the new systems, NHR@FAU and LRZ in Garching are becoming established as AI computing centers serving the universities and scientific establishments in the Free State. Both centers are already in close contact and are working together with respect to high-performance computing and energy efficiency. At FAU, NHR@FAU will provide AI services and central storage systems together with the Erlangen Regional Computing Center. The AI systems will be accommodated together with NHR@FAU and parts of the RRZE from 2030 in a new building at FAU Campus Erlangen South. The Free State of Bavaria is providing up to 260 million euros for the construction of the future northern Bavarian high-performance computing center.

Further information:


Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wellein

Professorship for High Performance Computing


Phone: +49 9131 85 28136