NTNU Buys Scandinavia’s Most Powerful Supercomputer

By Nicole Hemsoth

May 12, 2006

Once again, Norway is ranked high on the list of the world's most powerful supercomputers. The IBM System p5 supercomputer bought for the high performance computing environment in Trondheim is the most powerful in Scandinavia and number nine in Europe.

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has a long tradition of cracking numbers. The first supercomputer in Norway, a Cray X-MP/2, was installed here in 1986.

Once the contract is signed, IBM will deliver a System p5 as a replacement for the high performance computing system from SGI which has been in operation since 2000. The contract is worth NOK 30 million, and the purchase is financed by NTNU and the Research Council of Norway through the company, UNINETT Sigma.

The IBM System p5, model p575+, is equipped with 62 nodes each featuring eight dual-processing units. This means the system has 992 processing units, each with a speed of 1.9 GHz. The memory in the individual processors is 32 GB, which gives a total memory of 2 TB. The mass storage of the system is 70 TB.

In practice, the computing capacity of this new system will be more than seven times greater than the current SGI system. The capacity of the IBM system is 7.5 teraflops.

With this upgrade, the high performance computing environment in Norway boasts the most powerful computer in Scandinavia, approximately one and a half times more powerful than the computer at the University of Oslo.

Using the Linpack benchmark, the computer is ranked 60th on the list of the 500 most powerful computer systems in the world. Compared with the other European systems included on the list, it is ranked 9th.

IBM's test center in Montpellier has conducted numerous benchmark tests with different applications to measure the performance of the system with a view to various environments and needs. High performance computing experts from IBM's European laboratories have been consulted to make sure NTNU obtains the optimal solution.

The acquisition of the computer will not only benefit researchers at NTNU. Through the cooperation with UNINETT Sigma, the entire Norwegian research environment is ensured free access to the extended computing capacity. This fact contributes to raising the high performance computing infrastructure which enables Norwegian researchers to maintain their position among leading international researchers.

UNINETT Sigma was established on January 1, 2005, as a subsidiary company within the UNINETT group. Sigma will be responsible for the operation of the system, and otherwise be in charge of the operation and development of Norwegian high performance computing over the next decade.

Other Norwegian universities, the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, and companies such as Statoil and Sintef also represent important users of NTNU's supercomputer.

Advanced research projects often have strict requirements for high uptime and 24-hour availability. The choice of IBM's System p5 is therefore ideal for this type of use, as it is suitable for simulation tasks that require stability over several days and weeks. In addition, the computer represents a cluster technology that can be extended indefinitely.

“This system can be compared to a Formula 1 car that not only gives top performance right here and now, but is calibrated to develop,” says Paul Are Killie, Head of IBM Public Sector in Norway.

NTNU has a broad spectrum of academic environments that will benefit from the supercomputer. Advanced computer simulations have to a large extent replaced physical experiments, but not entirely. Numerical simulations still need to be verified through laboratory experiments. Within certain spheres, only theoretical computer-simulated experiments are possible to conduct.

Here are a few examples of important areas where supercomputers are necessary tools:

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute (DNMI) performs its calculations on the computer system in Trondheim. Roar Skålin at DNMI says that it will now be possible to make more accurate models of the terrain, which will result in more accurate forecasts.

“Increased resolution provides us with the opportunity to develop better models of the Norwegian coastal landscape, and with that we can better describe the expected wind conditions along the coast. This provides improved safety for ships and boats,” says Mr. Skålin. He further explains that they will also start using several new weather satellites that in combination with the new computer system will provide even better data to produce accurate forecasts.

Reservoir simulations are important in order to optimize the oil production in the North Sea. Simulations of how oil and gas float in the reservoir are extremely compute-intensive tasks.

Within chemistry, mathematical models are used to analyse various chemical processes. Numerical analysis of chemical kinetics and the modeling of chemical reactions also require high performance computing.

Bioinformatics is a rapidly growing field, where genomic studies and biomolecular modeling are the subject of compute-intensive processing. At NTNU, research is currently being developed around the identification and design of molecules that can selectively attach themselves to certain proteins. This could form the foundation for the development of medicines used, for instance, in cancer treatment.

For marine application, supercomputers are used to conduct calculations related to three-dimensional flow, turbulent flow, and naval construction.

Using supercomputers, problems related to materials science can be dealt with much more realistically than previously. By performing calculations on atomic structures, the materials' properties such as structure, stability and dynamics can be analyzed before making the materials.

Within physics application, one group performs calculations as to how fluid, metallic hydrogen behave at extremely low temperatures. These theoretical physics simulations would be impossible to carry out without supercomputers.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

What’s New in Computing vs. COVID-19: Fugaku, Congress, De Novo Design & More

July 2, 2020

Supercomputing, big data and artificial intelligence are crucial tools in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Around the world, researchers, corporations and governments are urgently devoting their computing reso Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

OpenPOWER Reboot – New Director, New Silicon Partners, Leveraging Linux Foundation Connections

July 2, 2020

Earlier this week the OpenPOWER Foundation announced the contribution of IBM’s A21 Power processor core design to the open source community. Roughly this time last year, IBM announced open sourcing its Power instructio Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Career Notes: July 2020 Edition

July 1, 2020

In this monthly feature, we'll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it's a promotion, new company hire, or even an accolade, we've got Read more…

By Mariana Iriarte

Supercomputers Enable Radical, Promising New COVID-19 Drug Development Approach

July 1, 2020

Around the world, innumerable supercomputers are sifting through billions of molecules in a desperate search for a viable therapeutic to treat COVID-19. Those molecules are pulled from enormous databases of known compoun Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPC-Powered Simulations Reveal a Looming Climatic Threat to Vital Monsoon Seasons

June 30, 2020

As June draws to a close, eyes are turning to the latter half of the year – and with it, the monsoon and hurricane seasons that can prove vital or devastating for many of the world’s coastal communities. Now, climate Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

AWS Solution Channel

Maxar Builds HPC on AWS to Deliver Forecasts 58% Faster Than Weather Supercomputer

When weather threatens drilling rigs, refineries, and other energy facilities, oil and gas companies want to move fast to protect personnel and equipment. And for firms that trade commodity shares in oil, precious metals, crops, and livestock, the weather can significantly impact their buy-sell decisions. Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Supercomputing the Pandemic: Scientific Community Tackles COVID-19 from Multiple Perspectives

Since their inception, supercomputers have taken on the biggest, most complex, and most data-intensive computing challenges—from confirming Einstein’s theories about gravitational waves to predicting the impacts of climate change. Read more…

Hyperion Forecast – Headwinds in 2020 Won’t Stifle Cloud HPC Adoption or Arm’s Rise

June 30, 2020

The semiannual taking of HPC’s pulse by Hyperion Research – late fall at SC and early summer at ISC – is a much-watched indicator of things come. This year is no different though the conversion of ISC to a digital Read more…

By John Russell

OpenPOWER Reboot – New Director, New Silicon Partners, Leveraging Linux Foundation Connections

July 2, 2020

Earlier this week the OpenPOWER Foundation announced the contribution of IBM’s A21 Power processor core design to the open source community. Roughly this time Read more…

By John Russell

Hyperion Forecast – Headwinds in 2020 Won’t Stifle Cloud HPC Adoption or Arm’s Rise

June 30, 2020

The semiannual taking of HPC’s pulse by Hyperion Research – late fall at SC and early summer at ISC – is a much-watched indicator of things come. This yea Read more…

By John Russell

Racism and HPC: a Special Podcast

June 29, 2020

Promoting greater diversity in HPC is a much-discussed goal and ostensibly a long-sought goal in HPC. Yet it seems clear HPC is far from achieving this goal. Re Read more…

Top500 Trends: Movement on Top, but Record Low Turnover

June 25, 2020

The 55th installment of the Top500 list saw strong activity in the leadership segment with four new systems in the top ten and a crowning achievement from the f Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ISC 2020 Keynote: Hope for the Future, Praise for Fugaku and HPC’s Pandemic Response

June 24, 2020

In stark contrast to past years Thomas Sterling’s ISC20 keynote today struck a more somber note with the COVID-19 pandemic as the central character in Sterling’s annual review of worldwide trends in HPC. Better known for his engaging manner and occasional willingness to poke prickly egos, Sterling instead strode through the numbing statistics associated... Read more…

By John Russell

ISC 2020’s Student Cluster Competition Winners Announced

June 24, 2020

Normally, the Student Cluster Competition involves teams of students building real computing clusters on the show floors of major supercomputer conferences and Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Hoefler’s Whirlwind ISC20 Virtual Tour of ML Trends in 9 Slides

June 23, 2020

The ISC20 experience this year via livestreaming and pre-recordings is interesting and perhaps a bit odd. That said presenters’ efforts to condense their comments makes for economic use of your time. Torsten Hoefler’s whirlwind 12-minute tour of ML is a great example. Hoefler, leader of the planned ISC20 Machine Learning... Read more…

By John Russell

At ISC, the Fight Against COVID-19 Took the Stage – and Yes, Fugaku Was There

June 23, 2020

With over nine million infected and nearly half a million dead, the COVID-19 pandemic has seized the world’s attention for several months. It has also dominat Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer Modeling Tests How COVID-19 Spreads in Grocery Stores

April 8, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, many people are treating simple activities like getting gas or groceries with caution as they try to heed social distancing mandates and protect their own health. Still, significant uncertainty surrounds the relative risk of different activities, and conflicting information is prevalent. A team of Finnish researchers set out to address some of these uncertainties by... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Turns Its Massive Crowdsourced Computer Network Against COVID-19

March 16, 2020

For gamers, fighting against a global crisis is usually pure fantasy – but now, it’s looking more like a reality. As supercomputers around the world spin up Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Global Supercomputing Is Mobilizing Against COVID-19

March 12, 2020

Tech has been taking some heavy losses from the coronavirus pandemic. Global supply chains have been disrupted, virtually every major tech conference taking place over the next few months has been canceled... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer Simulations Reveal the Fate of the Neanderthals

May 25, 2020

For hundreds of thousands of years, neanderthals roamed the planet, eventually (almost 50,000 years ago) giving way to homo sapiens, which quickly became the do Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

Steve Scott Lays Out HPE-Cray Blended Product Roadmap

March 11, 2020

Last week, the day before the El Capitan processor disclosures were made at HPE's new headquarters in San Jose, Steve Scott (CTO for HPC & AI at HPE, and former Cray CTO) was on-hand at the Rice Oil & Gas HPC conference in Houston. He was there to discuss the HPE-Cray transition and blended roadmap, as well as his favorite topic, Cray's eighth-gen networking technology, Slingshot. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Honeywell’s Big Bet on Trapped Ion Quantum Computing

April 7, 2020

Honeywell doesn’t spring to mind when thinking of quantum computing pioneers, but a decade ago the high-tech conglomerate better known for its control systems waded deliberately into the then calmer quantum computing (QC) waters. Fast forward to March when Honeywell announced plans to introduce an ion trap-based quantum computer whose ‘performance’ would... Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers


Neocortex Will Be First-of-Its-Kind 800,000-Core AI Supercomputer

June 9, 2020

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC - a joint research organization of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh) has won a $5 million award Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

‘Billion Molecules Against COVID-19’ Challenge to Launch with Massive Supercomputing Support

April 22, 2020

Around the world, supercomputing centers have spun up and opened their doors for COVID-19 research in what may be the most unified supercomputing effort in hist Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Australian Researchers Break All-Time Internet Speed Record

May 26, 2020

If you’ve been stuck at home for the last few months, you’ve probably become more attuned to the quality (or lack thereof) of your internet connection. Even Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

15 Slides on Programming Aurora and Exascale Systems

May 7, 2020

Sometime in 2021, Aurora, the first planned U.S. exascale system, is scheduled to be fired up at Argonne National Laboratory. Cray (now HPE) and Intel are the k Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU: Up to 2.5X the HPC, 20X the AI

May 14, 2020

Nvidia's first Ampere-based graphics card, the A100 GPU, packs a whopping 54 billion transistors on 826mm2 of silicon, making it the world's largest seven-nanom Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

By Doug Black

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

TACC Supercomputers Run Simulations Illuminating COVID-19, DNA Replication

March 19, 2020

As supercomputers around the world spin up to combat the coronavirus, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is announcing results that may help to illumina Read more…

By Staff report

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This