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July 8, 2014

Greece to Deploy Supercomputer by Year End

Tiffany Trader
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The Greek Research and Technology Network (GRNET) has signed a contract for the development of a high-performance computing system (HPC) to support large-scale scientific applications. The new system, which is expected to be up and running by the end of the year, marks a return to supercomputing for the country which hasn’t had a TOP500-level system since 2000.

The impetus for the project is to provide the country with a national HPC infrastructure and increase participation in the Tier-1 European supercomputing ecosystem of Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE).

After an open international tender conducted by GRNET, the supply and installation of the new system was awarded to COSMOS Business Systems in partnership with IBM. According to GRNET, the new system is expected to play an important role in the development and promotion of scientific research in Greece and in South East Europe. It will facilitate advanced research in scientific fields that have come to rely heavily on the use of modern supercomputers, such as computational chemistry, physics, biology, meteorology, medicine, materials science, and others.

The 180-teraflops machine will be based on IBM’s NeXtScale platform, which according to the vendor provides a “building-block approach to hyperscale computing,” enabling users to start small and scale rapidly as needed. The 426-node system will be powered by Intel Xeon E5 v2 processors and will comprise 8,500 processor cores, interconnected via FDR InfiniBand technology. It will come with one petabyte of storage, based on the IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS). Pre-installed compilers, scientific libraries and popular scientific application suites will further support GRNET’s mission to carry out and support high-level science.

The national supercomputing resource is being developed under the “PRACE-GR – Developing National Supercomputing Infrastructure and Related Services for the Greek Research and Academic Community” project, which is co-funded by the Operational Program “Attica” and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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