UiT Recycles Supercomputing Power with Asetek’s RackCDU™

June 23, 2014

The University of Tromso (UiT) the “Artic University of Norway” is the world’s northernmost university with four campuses spread out across Norway. UiT is already a leader in High Performance Computing (HPC). In 2007 its STALLO cluster became the most powerful cluster in Norway and reached 63rd position in the Top500. In 2014 STALLO 2 is expected to reach 310 Teraflop in peak performance.UiT

UiT’s innovative thinking includes using supercomputing clusters as a heating plant. Specifically, the waste heat from the High Performance Computing facility is the energy source for building and district heating, reducing overall campus energy demand.

“Recently we have moved our attention from counting how many flops we can get out of the supercomputer to how many watts that can be recycled from the same computer” says Svenn Hanssen, Head of Section Research and Educational IT, University of Tromso

UiT believes that hot water cooling is something that gives the Arctic region an advantage and positions the region as a natural place to establish future datacenters. With an average temperature of 4ºC, UiT is an ideal location for re-use of waste heat from data centers. By cutting millions of krones from the power bill, more money can be spent on computing, software and the actual research. Waste heat recovery is also key in UiT’s goal to become the world’s leader in Green HPC.

During the summer of 2014 UiT will complete the build of a new 2MW data center. Its supercomputing cluster is expected to be around 2/3rds cooled by hot water with the longer term goal to make the entire cluster water cooled. The system will use the exit water from cooling the supercomputer as a heat source for the nearby buildings that will expand in the next phase to also provide heat to the hospital next door. The hot water will be used to heat the structures via both wall and ceiling radiators.

UiT began installing Asetek’s RackCDU D2C™ hot water data center liquid cooling in January 2014with the goal of using the supercomputing cluster as a district heat plant. The RackCDU D2C system consists of two key sub systems: D2C™ server coolers that are drop in replacements for the CPU air heat sinks in each server and a RackCDU extension that mounts of the back of each rack. Asetek D2C server coolers bring low-pressure, hot water inside the computing nodes to directly cool high heat flux components such as CPUs, GPUs and memory.

The RackCDU Extension is a 263mm (10.5 inch) cabinet that contains a zero-U rack level Cooling Distribution Unit (hence RackCDU) that exchanges heat between the cooling liquid running through the servers and the liquid in the larger facilities liquid cooling / waste heat recovery loop. Hot cooling liquid moves Rack CDUbetween RackCDU and server coolers via tubes that attach with dripless quick connectors to the RackCDU and via blind mate connectors to the server coolers. The server cooler, connecting tubes and RackCDU are all delivered pre-filled with coolant. Data center operators never have to deal with server cooling liquid.

RackCDU enables much higher rack densities, reduces the overhead power requirements for data center cooling, lowers acoustic noise and enables the use of waste heat to be recouped for building and district heating.

Hot water cooling is highly effective since the surface temperature of a CPU (case temp) only needs to be maintained between 67°C to 85°C (153°F to 185°F), depending on CPU model. The operating surface temperatures for memory chips, GPUs and co-processors is even higher, in the 90°to 95°C (194°F to 203°F) range. The cooling efficiency of water allows it to maintain the required case temps with a low initial temperature difference between the water and the component being cooled, or a small delta T. This means the water used for cooling the components can be hot.  RackCDU D2C is deployable as part of completely new clusters, in server refresh cycles or even as retrofits of existing servers. In particular, there is the ability to implement D2C in many standard air cooled servers offered by OEMs today just as UiT is doing with its HP SL230 servers.

UiT chose to concentrate on D2C cooling of CPUs in the HP SL230 servers used in their HPC cluster. Air-cooled HP SL230’s are a popular choice in the HPC world and RackCDU D2C allows the leveraging these cost-effective nodes to run more efficiently through liquid cooling while enabling high density deployments and substantial power savings.

To make best use of the waste heat a number of factors must be optimized. UiT is manipulating a range of parameters for optimization: flow rates, amount of hot water needed, the temperature of the water, the delta between the supply and return temperature and the size of the supercomputer in terms of possible production of hot water.

Initial testing has shown it is possible to achieve that greater than 70% waste heat recycling with a delta of 25oC between input and exit temperature of the cooling water. The testingUiTto date has been with a rather cold 12oC supply temperature and performance is expected to be even better at higher input temps. Air temperature in the computer room is also a factor. UiT has found that as they increase the room temperature, the water cooled system performance is not affected. Conversely, the air cooled systems start to spend more power for cooling as room temperature rises.

Because it is an HPC computing cluster, a 100% server load is common. The UiT load is typically greater than 80% 24 hours per day/7 days a week, making it ideal for heat capture and reuse.

One of the side effects of moving to hot water cooling and implementing district heating at UiT is the shift in how the supercomputing resource is viewed. No longer is the supercomputer seen as a multi-million dollar yearly expenditure in terms of variable power costs. It is now actually something the whole university expects to be expanded and integrated into the infrastructure to provide heating as well as power cost savings. Indeed, the visibility has built such enthusiasm that there are even artists trying to hook the supercomputer up to new art installations on campus to give different perspectives to the artwork based on the real-time load of the system.

UiT’s leadership in supercomputing is being matched by its mission to become the world’s leader in green High Performance Computing. Not only greening the data center itself but in recouping energy for district heating and having the supercomputing cluster be viewed as a community asset.

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!

PRACEdays Reflects Europe’s HPC Commitment

May 25, 2017

More than 250 attendees and participants came together for PRACEdays17 in Barcelona last week, part of the European HPC Summit Week 2017, held May 15-19 at t Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Russian Researchers Claim First Quantum-Safe Blockchain

May 25, 2017

The Russian Quantum Center today announced it has overcome the threat of quantum cryptography by creating the first quantum-safe blockchain, securing cryptocurr Read more…

By Doug Black

Google Debuts TPU v2 and will Add to Google Cloud

May 25, 2017

Not long after stirring attention in the deep learning/AI community by revealing the details of its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), Google last week announced the Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia CEO Predicts AI ‘Cambrian Explosion’

May 25, 2017

The processing power and cloud access to developer tools used to train machine-learning models are making artificial intelligence ubiquitous across computing pl Read more…

By George Leopold

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Exploring the Three Models of Remote Visualization

The explosion of data and advancement of digital technologies are dramatically changing the way many companies do business. With the help of high performance computing (HPC) solutions and data analytics platforms, manufacturers are developing products faster, healthcare providers are improving patient care, and energy companies are improving planning, exploration, and production. Read more…

PGAS Use will Rise on New H/W Trends, Says Reinders

May 25, 2017

If you have not already tried using PGAS, it is time to consider adding PGAS to the programming techniques you know. Partitioned Global Array Space, commonly kn Read more…

By James Reinders

Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers

May 23, 2017

President Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spend Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Hedge Funds (with Supercomputing help) Rank First Among Investors

May 22, 2017

In case you didn’t know, The Quants Run Wall Street Now, or so says a headline in today’s Wall Street Journal. Quant-run hedge funds now control the largest Read more…

By John Russell

IBM, D-Wave Report Quantum Computing Advances

May 18, 2017

IBM said this week it has built and tested a pair of quantum computing processors, including a prototype of a commercial version. That progress follows an an Read more…

By George Leopold

PRACEdays Reflects Europe’s HPC Commitment

May 25, 2017

More than 250 attendees and participants came together for PRACEdays17 in Barcelona last week, part of the European HPC Summit Week 2017, held May 15-19 at t Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

PGAS Use will Rise on New H/W Trends, Says Reinders

May 25, 2017

If you have not already tried using PGAS, it is time to consider adding PGAS to the programming techniques you know. Partitioned Global Array Space, commonly kn Read more…

By James Reinders

Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers

May 23, 2017

President Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spend Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray Offers Supercomputing as a Service, Targets Biotechs First

May 16, 2017

Leading supercomputer vendor Cray and datacenter/cloud provider the Markley Group today announced plans to jointly deliver supercomputing as a service. The init Read more…

By John Russell

HPE’s Memory-centric The Machine Coming into View, Opens ARMs to 3rd-party Developers

May 16, 2017

Announced three years ago, HPE’s The Machine is said to be the largest R&D program in the venerable company’s history, one that could be progressing tow Read more…

By Doug Black

What’s Up with Hyperion as It Transitions From IDC?

May 15, 2017

If you’re wondering what’s happening with Hyperion Research – formerly the IDC HPC group – apparently you are not alone, says Steve Conway, now senior V Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Launches Servers, Services, and Collaboration at GTC

May 10, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today launched a new liquid cooled GPU-driven Apollo platform based on SGI ICE architecture, a new collaboration with NVIDIA, a Read more…

By John Russell

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Last week, Google reported that its custom ASIC Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) was 15-30x faster for inferencing workloads than Nvidia's K80 GPU (see our coverage Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

Since our first formal product releases of OSPRay and OpenSWR libraries in 2016, CPU-based Software Defined Visualization (SDVis) has achieved wide-spread adopt Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a ne Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which w Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling Read more…

By Steve Campbell

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Eng Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

As China continues to prove its supercomputing mettle via the Top500 list and the forward march of its ambitious plans to stand up an exascale machine by 2020, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu's Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural networ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Wants to be “Red Hat” of Deep Learning

January 26, 2017

IBM today announced the addition of TensorFlow and Chainer deep learning frameworks to its PowerAI suite of deep learning tools, which already includes popular Read more…

By John Russell

DOE Supercomputer Achieves Record 45-Qubit Quantum Simulation

April 13, 2017

In order to simulate larger and larger quantum systems and usher in an age of "quantum supremacy," researchers are stretching the limits of today's most advance Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This