AI-Focused ‘Genius’ Supercomputer Installed at KU Leuven

By Tiffany Trader

April 24, 2018

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has deployed a new approximately half-petaflops supercomputer, named Genius, at Flemish research university KU Leuven. The system is built to run artificial intelligence (AI) workloads and, as part of the Flemish Supercomputing Center (VSC), it will be available to both academia and the industry to foster scientific advances and promote economic growth and innovation in Flanders, the northern region of Belgium.

Research efforts will be aimed at molecular modelling, engineering, physics, chemistry, climate studies, astronomy, astrophysics and psychology. Training, provided in partnership with HPE and the university, will include CPU and GPU optimization techniques as well as specialized machine learning emphasis.

The HPE cluster includes 96 HPE Gen10 Skylake-based compute servers (in the density-optimized HPE Apollo k6000 chassis) and 20 HPE Apollo sx40 GPU machines (with four Nvidia P100s each), offering an aggregate 600 theoretical teraflops of compute power and 28 terabytes of memory. The system has a combined total of 4,176 Intel Xeon 6140 cores and 80 P100 GPUs.

“With innovation at our core, KU Leuven wanted to offer the capabilities and benefits of a top-notch HPC system to our users to enable them to discover new insights and gain a competitive edge ahead of other universities. We see AI as a new powerful method in scientific research where HPC will play an important role, and this new system with its powerful GPU section will undoubtedly help our researchers to explore and take advantage of it,” said KU Leuven researcher Jan Ooghe.

Dr. Eng Lim Goh, VP and SGI CTO, HPE, also commented on the project’s AI focus: “Traditionally, scientific laws have been applied deductively – from predicting the performance of a pacemaker before implant, downforce of a Formula 1 car, pricing of derivatives in finance or the motion of planets for a trip to Mars. With artificial intelligence, we are starting to also use the data-intensive inductive approach, enabled by the re-emergence of Machine Learning which has been fueled by decades of accumulated records.”

Genius joins the ThinKing and Cerebro clusters at KU Leuven’s green datacenter at the university’s main campus in Leuven. The systems are part of the Flemish Supercomputer Centre (VSC) infrastructure, and are available for KU Leuven and UHasselt researchers, as well as other VSC users, from academia and industry. VSC is managed by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) in partnership with the five Flemish university associations.

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