Q&A: HLRS’s Bastian Koller Tackles HPC and Industry in Germany and Europe

By Steve Conway, Hyperion

July 6, 2020

Editor’s Note: With worldwide travel curbed by the pandemic, it can be difficult to stay current with activities throughout the global HPC community. Digital conferences, such as the just completed ISC20, help but the gold standard of face-to-face meetings is much missed. In this exclusive interview for HPCwire – sadly not face to face – Steve Conway, senior advisor for Hyperion Research, talks with Dr.-Ing Bastian Koller about the state of HPC and its collaboration with Industry in Europe. Koller is a familiar figure in HPC. He is the managing director at High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) and also serves as coordinator of the EU-supported EXCELLERAT Center of Excellence on HPC engineering applications. He will lead HLRS’ efforts to manage the EuroHPC projects on the National Competence Centers (EuroCC and CASTIEL), scheduled to start September 1, 2020, and the EuroHPC SME Initiative (FF4EuroHPC).

HPCwire: Let’s start with HLRS and work our way up to the European scale. HLRS has stood out in the HPC world for its support of both scientific and industrial research. Can you discuss key developments in recent years?

Koller: The key developments at HLRS were mainly to extend our ecosystem to better address the needs of different communities and at the same time to continuously evolve our operating model. The latter is, among other things, necessary to take into account the special requirements of industrial users, for example in terms of security. The ecosystem was improved by the installation of solution centers.  Currently, we have an Automotive Solution Center for Simulations (ASCS), an Energy Solution Center (EnSOC) and a Media Solution Center (MSC), all covering different domains. They are set up as spinoffs, are implemented as associations, and are made up of players from the domains, including technology experts but also end users.

Another activity, which helps us to address our users’ needs, is that we integrate our users in tests of new technologies; with permission we use their applications to benchmark and elaborate on test systems and thus are [better able] to procure new systems which will support them well. One KPI (key performance indicator) for that is our average utilization of the systems, which is extremely high and shows us that these systems fit the needs of the scientific and industrial researchers.

HPCwire: The EU Fortissimo program for SMEs became successful at EPCC in Edinburgh and is now based at HLRS. What is the status of the program and what are the goals for the next few years?

Bastian Koller, HLRS

Koller: The Fortissimo program, which created more than 90 SME success stories, will be continued from September 2020 on within the FF4EuroHPC project. Due to the impact of Brexit, the project coordination was handed over to HLRS, but we will follow the same path EPCC followed, which is to perform open calls for experiments and create success stories with the selected experiments. Compared to the original Fortissimo projects, the focus is no longer only on HPC in manufacturing. FF4EuroHPC will address a wider span of topics.

HPCwire: HLRS has a strong history of helping SMEs (small and mid-size enterprises) to take advantage of HPC.  How do they come to HLRS, and how do you help them?

Koller: There are several ways SMEs come to HLRS, either through personal contacts with HLRS staff, or through experiences and collaborations, for example in research projects, or through activities like Fortissimo or through the SICOS GmbH, our spin off together with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, which is supported by our state government of Baden-Württemberg. We have a mechanism where meetings are organized to target SMEs, to create awareness of the potential of HPC and associated technologies such as HPDA and AI. In the first phase, the SICOS staff discusses the aims and requirements with the SMEs, and then HLRS takes over once it is clearer what the interaction might look like.

In terms of help and support, we provide the SMEs with consultancy services to enhance their products or services with the use of HPC and associated technologies. We do prototyping tests and provide them with human support to ensure they get what they need. When they move to production by embedding HPC, HPDA and AI into their normal work, they pay market-aligned prices for our HPC resources. Currently more than 40 SMEs are using our systems, and with the new HAWK supercomputer we expect this number to increase.

HPCwire: HAWK is your new HPE Apollo supercomputer. What are the plans for this system?

Koller: The plans are manifold. On one hand, HLRS wants to strengthen its capabilities and impact in the engineering domain and in the upcoming field of global challenges and global systems science. HAWK will also be the means to support all our users from other domains, such as mobility, biomedicine, climate and energy. The capabilities of HAWK will strengthen our reputation for hosting a highly-ranked supercomputer which is utilized by industry as well as for science.

The Hawk supercomputer.

Along with the setup and operation of HAWK, HLRS also established a collaboration with HPE and AMD, together with our users, that will help advance our business and capabilities. This initiative will look at how our users can make the best use of the technology in the system, how they can embed associated technologies such as HPDA and AI into their workflows, and in general how all of us can best exploit this powerful resource.

HPCwire: HLRS and the other two German national supercomputer centers formed the Gauss Center for Supercomputing a few years ago and it seems to be operating well. How does GCS work with German governments and the European Commission to fund supercomputing in Germany? 

Koller: Within GCS, we and the other two national computer centers work together to strengthen Germany’s leadership in the scientific and industrial use of supercomputing. The German government is one member of the EuroHPC governing board, and GCS representatives contribute to the EuroHPC advisory groups, such as the Research and Innovation Advisory Group and the Infrastructure Advisory Group. GCS with the three centers therefore provides strategic ideas which can be taken up in these diverse groups.

HPCwire: Your German state, Baden-Württemberg, has been very supportive of HLRS. How do you maintain that relationship?

Koller: In Baden-Württemberg, the representatives of the state have always been aware of the potential of HPC for going beyond its use in science. At HLRS we support Baden-Württemberg by showcasing that the trust and the money they give us is spent in a way that science, industry and society benefit from. Success stories are a key element for that.

HPCwire: Since the European Commission announced the first Europe-wide HPC strategy in 2012, Europe seems to have made important progress, including funding rules that make exascale systems financially practical, the EuroHPC joint undertaking, collaborating with PRACE, the European Processor Initiative and other activities. How do you see Europe’s HPC progress and what still needs to be done?

Koller: Europe has taken a big step forward with the implementation of the EuroHPC JU and by combining the HPC activities into a common strategy. So we see this as a good starting point, and we appreciate that it is not only about the technology and hardware systems themselves, but that the very important associated competences and excellence in applications are also being addressed. So what needs to be done is to continuously ensure that this path is followed and that Europe’s existing strengths in applications and overall excellence in HPC continue to be fostered, while competencies and capabilities around the technology are continually improved. With regard to competencies, the implementation and operation of the National Competence Center, as planned in the EuroCC and CASTIEL initiatives, will be of utmost importance.

HPCwire: Can you describe the specific goals of the EuroCC and CASTIEL initiatives and the part HLRS will play in those EU-supported initiatives?

Koller: The EuroCC initiative will coordinate the establishment of 33 National Competence Centers across Europe. It will run in a first phase for 24 months and work out the framework for the setup of a Competence Center in each nation, including which services and capabilities the center offers and how it can support users on behalf of public administration, science, industry and society at large. CASTIEL is a coordination and support action which will complement EuroCC by addressing collaboration, synergy detection and exchange on a European Level. It will involve the NCCs, but also existing activities such as the European Centers of Excellence on HPC applications and PRACE will be linked with the National Competence Centers.

CASTIEL will create working groups on the topics of training, digital twinning, mentoring, business development and industrial use of HPC and associated technologies, as well as on awareness creation, success stories, and so on. Both projects will start on the first of September and align with each other. HLRS, together with GCS, will coordinate both projects and also contribute strongly to the German National Competence Center that will be led by GCS. CASTIEL will also have a strong link to FF4EuroHPC, to support the NCCs in creating bids for the open calls for experiments.

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!

The Present and Future of AI: A Discussion with HPC Visionary Dr. Eng Lim Goh

November 27, 2020

As HPE’s chief technology officer for artificial intelligence, Dr. Eng Lim Goh devotes much of his time talking and consulting with enterprise customers about how AI can benefit their business operations and products. Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

SC20 Panel – OK, You Hate Storage Tiering. What’s Next Then?

November 25, 2020

Tiering in HPC storage has a bad rep. No one likes it. It complicates things and slows I/O. At least one storage technology newcomer – VAST Data – advocates dumping the whole idea. One large-scale user, NERSC storage architect Glenn Lockwood sort of agrees. The challenge, of course, is that tiering... Read more…

By John Russell

Exscalate4CoV Runs 70 Billion-Molecule Coronavirus Simulation

November 25, 2020

The winds of the pandemic are changing – for better and for worse. Three viable vaccines now teeter on the brink of regulatory approval, which will pave the way for broad distribution by April or May. But until then, COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing across the U.S. and Europe... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Azure Scaled to Record 86,400 Cores for Molecular Dynamics

November 20, 2020

A new record for HPC scaling on the public cloud has been achieved on Microsoft Azure. Led by Dr. Jer-Ming Chia, the cloud provider partnered with the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the Universi Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Gordon Bell Special Prize Goes to Massive SARS-CoV-2 Simulations

November 19, 2020

2020 has proven a harrowing year – but it has produced remarkable heroes. To that end, this year, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) introduced the Gordon Bell Special Prize for High Performance Computing-Ba Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

AWS Solution Channel

Introducing AWS ParallelCluster as an Intel Select Solution

High performance computing (HPC) system owners can spend weeks or months researching, procuring, and assembling components to build HPC clusters to run their workloads. Understanding and managing the complexities of compute, storage, networking, and software requirements can be confusing and time-consuming, slowing innovation and results. Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Intel Keynote Address

Intel is the foundation of HPC – from the workstation to the cloud to the backbone of the Top500. At SC20, Intel’s Trish Damkroger, VP and GM of high performance computing, addresses the audience to show how Intel and its partners are building the future of HPC today, through hardware and software technologies that accelerate the broad deployment of advanced HPC systems. Read more…

Gordon Bell Prize Winner Breaks Ground in AI-Infused Ab Initio Simulation

November 19, 2020

The race to blend deep learning and first-principle simulation to speed up solutions and scale up problems tackled is one of the most exciting research areas in computational science today. This year’s ACM Gordon Bell Prize winner announced today at SC20 makes significant progress in that direction. Read more…

By John Russell

The Present and Future of AI: A Discussion with HPC Visionary Dr. Eng Lim Goh

November 27, 2020

As HPE’s chief technology officer for artificial intelligence, Dr. Eng Lim Goh devotes much of his time talking and consulting with enterprise customers about Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

SC20 Panel – OK, You Hate Storage Tiering. What’s Next Then?

November 25, 2020

Tiering in HPC storage has a bad rep. No one likes it. It complicates things and slows I/O. At least one storage technology newcomer – VAST Data – advocates dumping the whole idea. One large-scale user, NERSC storage architect Glenn Lockwood sort of agrees. The challenge, of course, is that tiering... Read more…

By John Russell

Exscalate4CoV Runs 70 Billion-Molecule Coronavirus Simulation

November 25, 2020

The winds of the pandemic are changing – for better and for worse. Three viable vaccines now teeter on the brink of regulatory approval, which will pave the way for broad distribution by April or May. But until then, COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing across the U.S. and Europe... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Azure Scaled to Record 86,400 Cores for Molecular Dynamics

November 20, 2020

A new record for HPC scaling on the public cloud has been achieved on Microsoft Azure. Led by Dr. Jer-Ming Chia, the cloud provider partnered with the Beckman I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Gordon Bell Special Prize Goes to Massive SARS-CoV-2 Simulations

November 19, 2020

2020 has proven a harrowing year – but it has produced remarkable heroes. To that end, this year, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) introduced the Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Gordon Bell Prize Winner Breaks Ground in AI-Infused Ab Initio Simulation

November 19, 2020

The race to blend deep learning and first-principle simulation to speed up solutions and scale up problems tackled is one of the most exciting research areas in computational science today. This year’s ACM Gordon Bell Prize winner announced today at SC20 makes significant progress in that direction. Read more…

By John Russell

SC20 Keynote: Climate, Exascale & the Ultimate Answer

November 19, 2020

SC20’s keynote was delivered by renowned meteorologist and climatologist Bjorn Stevens, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology since 2008 and a professor at the University of Hamburg. In his keynote, Stevens traced the history of climate science from its earliest days through... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

EuroHPC Exec. Dir. Talks Procurement, EPI, and Europe’s Efforts to Control its HPC Destiny

November 19, 2020

While much of the HPC community’s attention is fixed on SC20’s flood of news and new product announcements, Anders Dam Jensen, the newly-minted executive di Read more…

By Steve Conway

Nvidia Said to Be Close on Arm Deal

August 3, 2020

GPU leader Nvidia Corp. is in talks to buy U.K. chip designer Arm from parent company Softbank, according to several reports over the weekend. If consummated Read more…

By George Leopold

Supercomputer-Powered Research Uncovers Signs of ‘Bradykinin Storm’ That May Explain COVID-19 Symptoms

July 28, 2020

Doctors and medical researchers have struggled to pinpoint – let alone explain – the deluge of symptoms induced by COVID-19 infections in patients, and what Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Azure Scaled to Record 86,400 Cores for Molecular Dynamics

November 20, 2020

A new record for HPC scaling on the public cloud has been achieved on Microsoft Azure. Led by Dr. Jer-Ming Chia, the cloud provider partnered with the Beckman I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Google Hires Longtime Intel Exec Bill Magro to Lead HPC Strategy

September 18, 2020

In a sign of the times, another prominent HPCer has made a move to a hyperscaler. Longtime Intel executive Bill Magro joined Google as chief technologist for hi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Keeps Cray Brand Promise, Reveals HPE Cray Supercomputing Line

August 4, 2020

The HPC community, ever-affectionate toward Cray and its eponymous founder, can breathe a (virtual) sigh of relief. The Cray brand will live on, encompassing th 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

NICS Unleashes ‘Kraken’ Supercomputer

April 4, 2008

A Cray XT4 supercomputer, dubbed Kraken, is scheduled to come online in mid-summer at the National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS). The soon-to-be petascale system, and the resulting NICS organization, are the result of an NSF Track II award of $65 million to the University of Tennessee and its partners to provide next-generation supercomputing for the nation's science community. Read more…

Is the Nvidia A100 GPU Performance Worth a Hardware Upgrade?

October 16, 2020

Over the last decade, accelerators have seen an increasing rate of adoption in high-performance computing (HPC) platforms, and in the June 2020 Top500 list, eig Read more…

By Hartwig Anzt, Ahmad Abdelfattah and Jack Dongarra

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Aurora’s Troubles Move Frontier into Pole Exascale Position

October 1, 2020

Intel’s 7nm node delay has raised questions about the status of the Aurora supercomputer that was scheduled to be stood up at Argonne National Laboratory next year. Aurora was in the running to be the United States’ first exascale supercomputer although it was on a contemporaneous timeline with... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

European Commission Declares €8 Billion Investment in Supercomputing

September 18, 2020

Just under two years ago, the European Commission formalized the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU): a concerted HPC effort (comprising 32 participating states at c Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Texas A&M Announces Flagship ‘Grace’ Supercomputer

November 9, 2020

Texas A&M University has announced its next flagship system: Grace. The new supercomputer, named for legendary programming pioneer Grace Hopper, is replacing the Ada system (itself named for mathematician Ada Lovelace) as the primary workhorse for Texas A&M’s High Performance Research Computing (HPRC). Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Top500: Fugaku Keeps Crown, Nvidia’s Selene Climbs to #5

November 16, 2020

With the publication of the 56th Top500 list today from SC20's virtual proceedings, Japan's Fugaku supercomputer – now fully deployed – notches another win, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

At Oak Ridge, ‘End of Life’ Sometimes Isn’t

October 31, 2020

Sometimes, the old dog actually does go live on a farm. HPC systems are often cursed with short lifespans, as they are continually supplanted by the latest and Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia and EuroHPC Team for Four Supercomputers, Including Massive ‘Leonardo’ System

October 15, 2020

The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU) serves as Europe’s concerted supercomputing play, currently comprising 32 member states and billions of euros in funding. I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Microsoft Azure Adds A100 GPU Instances for ‘Supercomputer-Class AI’ in the Cloud

August 19, 2020

Microsoft Azure continues to infuse its cloud platform with HPC- and AI-directed technologies. Today the cloud services purveyor announced a new virtual machine Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia-Arm Deal a Boon for RISC-V?

October 26, 2020

The $40 billion blockbuster acquisition deal that will bring chipmaker Arm into the Nvidia corporate family could provide a boost for the competing RISC-V architecture. As regulators in the U.S., China and the European Union begin scrutinizing the impact of the blockbuster deal on semiconductor industry competition and innovation, the deal has at the very least... Read more…

By George Leopold

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