Eni to Retake Industry HPC Crown with Launch of HPC5

By Tiffany Trader

February 12, 2020

With the launch of its Dell-built HPC5 system, Italian energy company Eni regains its position atop the industrial supercomputing leaderboard. At 52-petaflops peak, HPC5 should easily crack the top ten fold of the next Top500 list, due out in June. If and when that happens, HPC5 will supplant Total’s IBM Pangea III supercomputer, currently at number 11 with 17.9 Linpack petaflops out of 25 theoretical petaflops, as the top publicly ranked industrial HPC system.

HPC5 spans 1,820 Dell EMC PowerEdge C4140 servers, each with two Intel Gold 6252 24-core processors and four Nvidia V100 GPU accelerators. Servers are connected by Mellanox 200 Gb/s HDR Infiniband in a full non-blocking topology. The deployment includes a high-performance 15-petabyte storage system with 200 GB/s aggregate read/write speeds.

HPC5 joins Eni’s HPE-built HPC4 machine, which ranks 16 on the current Top500 list with 12.2 Linpack petaflops out of a theoretical 18.6 petaflops. Prior to Total’s Pangea III deployment, HPC4 held the title of fastest industry supercomputer.

Both systems are housed inside Eni’s Green Data Center, located in Ferrera Erbognone in Pavia, Italy. Built on a former rice paddy, the datacenter opened in 2013 to host all of Eni’s HPC architecture and its business applications.

With the new addition, Eni says its total aggregate supercomputing capacity reaches 70 peak petaflops. The upgraded and expanded capacity allows Eni to speed the processing of seismic images and employ more sophisticated algorithms.

Partners Eni and Dell emphasized the project’s sustainability goals, noting that the “HPC5 supercomputer will accelerate R&D programs for the transition to non-fossil energy sources, and it has been designed to use the Green Data Centre’s solar power.”

Among Eni’s designated strategic targets for the development of new energy sources and related processes are the generation of energy from the sea, magnetic confinement fusion, and other climate and environmental technologies to be developed in collaboration with research centers.

The launch of the new system also has some special significance for Dell EMC as the system maker continues to ascend the leadership computing ladder. Frontera at TACC (#5 on the Top500 with 23 Linpack petaflops) is currently the world’s fastest academic supercomputer, and with the installation at Eni, Dell can claim the number one industrial system as well.

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