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March 23, 2010
JUELICH/BOEBLINGEN, Germany, March 23 -- One trillion compute operations per second: This unbelievable performance should be provided by supercomputers of the future. Today, in the Juelich Supercomputing Centre (JSC), Forschungszentrum Juelich and IBM sign the contract for a joint "Exascale Innovation Center," within the scope of which hardware and software for an exascale supercomputer will be developed until the end of this decade.
"Exascale is the premier challenge for supercomputing worldwide. This project is decisive for the options which Germany and Europe can offer to science and economy in this field in the future," says Prof. Bachem, chairman of the board of directors of Forschungszentrum Juelich, during contract signature. With supercomputers, researchers simulate how the climate changes, how new semiconductors work or how fuel cells can be improved. With exascale supercomputers it will be possible to process even larger amounts of data in even more precise simulations.
"Already today, supercomputing is used for medical research, material sciences and risk analysis in the financial sector. The use will grow," says Dirk Wittkopp, vice president and director of the IBM development laboratory in Boeblingen where part of the Exascale Innovation Center will be located. "The technology can help us solve economic and social challenges, which we as IBM are addressing with our Smarter Planet agenda -- for example resource optimization or environmental protection."
The most recent example of the successful collaboration of the German IBM, the DFG-Sonderforschungsbereich Hadron Physics and the Juelich Supercomputing Centre is the the supercomputer QPACE, which was declared the world's most energy-efficient supercomputer in last November. "With QPACE, we managed to get a grip on energy consumption. Energy efficiency will be the most prominent challenge which we will have to solve in order to allow for exascale supercomputers," says Prof. Thomas Lippert, director of the Juelich Supercomputing Centre. Further challenges are the development of the chip and processor technology towards the exascale level with respect to hardware and the improvement of algorithms with respect to software, in order to run and use a supercomputer of this size. Juelich brings in its outstanding expertise in the development of algorithms.
According to the schedule, a prototype of the new exascale supercomputer is anticipated be available in 2015. Five scientists from IBM Boeblingen and five scientists from Juelich will be collaborating with a team of scientists at IBM research in Yorktown Heights. This effort will hopefully culminate in an exascale class machine in 2019 in Juelich.
The innovation minister of North Rhine-Westphalia commends the collaboration between Forschungszentrum Juelich and IBM. "I appreciate that Forschungszentrum Juelich builds the foundation to continue having most powerful supercomputers in the future. For research, this is important, because many scientists today work with simulation techniques and need large amounts of compute power. The research location of Northrine Westphalia will profit significantly."
Furthermore, based on the strong technology partnership in supercomputing which was built throughout many years, Forschungszentrum Juelich is one out of few clients worldwide with whom IBM intends to work together closely in the development testing of the next generation of the IBM Blue Gene supercomputer. In Yorktown and later Boeblingen , specialists of the Juelich Supercomputing center will perform comprehensive examinations in an early stage of product development, on the basis of which the application performance should be analyzed and optimized.
Forschungszentrum Juelich already represents the installation site of JUGENE, the most powerful computer in Europa, which was developed with IBM. JUGENE provides a peak performance of more than 1 petaflop/s, which means one quadrillion compute operations per second, based on its 72,000 processors. The planned exascale supercomputer will be 1,000 times more powerful.
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