The German Aerospace Center (DLR) dedicated its new high-performance computer CARA (Computer for Advanced Research in Aerospace) at TU Dresden on February 5, 2020. Built by NEC and powered by first-generation AMD Epyc 7601 processors with a budget of more than 20 million Euros, the 2,300-node cluster will enable greater complexity of simulations within the DLR complex. Other technology partners include Gigabyte, CoolIT Systems, Nvidia, Mellanox, and DataDirect Networks.
Prof. Rolf Henke, DLR board member responsible for aviation, welcomed the inauguration together with the rector of the TU Dresden, Prof. Hans Müller-Steinhagen, the Minister of Economics of Saxony, Martin Dulig, and the mayor of the city of Dresden, Dirk Hilbert.
A high-performance computer with nearly 150,000 processing cores
“With its almost 150,000 computing cores, CARA is one of the most powerful supercomputers in international comparison available for aerospace research,” said Prof. Henke. “We are strengthening the competencies of the new DLR institute for software methods for product virtualization in Dresden and thus also the science location Dresden with regard to the method development, the use and the efficient operation of high-performance computers,” continued Henke.
Simulations for the research areas aerospace and transport
In the future, CARA will, among other things, accelerate the introduction of new technologies for more economical, environmentally friendly and safer flying. For this purpose, hardware components (AMD processors) were selected that enable optimal use by simulation codes that are developed at DLR. These simulations contain all properties and components of an aircraft based on highly precise physical and mathematical models. They are a prerequisite for the virtual development, testing, operation and certification of aircraft. In addition, CARA can also be used in space travel and traffic research: for example, in the field of space transportation of the future or for next-generation trains.
Establishment of a DLR-wide competence center for high-performance computing
With the installation of the high-performance computer CARA, a DLR-wide competence center for high-performance computing is established in the Dresden Institute for Software Methods for Product Virtualization. In addition to specific research on efficient use, DLR institutes in particular, which so far have had little expertise in dealing with high-performance computing, are to be shown new perspectives in numerical simulation.
Cooperation with the Technical University of Dresden
The high-performance computer was installed in the data center of the Lehmann Center (LZR) at the Technical University of Dresden (TU Dresden) and is operated by the Center for Information Services and High Performance Computing (ZIH). “This results in extensive strategic cooperation opportunities and synergies with the TU Dresden in order to promote application competence and method development in close coordination,” said Prof. Dr. Wolfgang E. Nagel, director of the ZIH. “We are also pleased that CARA is using our efficient hot water cooling system, which means that the waste heat from the computer can be used in the surrounding buildings in the future,” continues Nagel.