Austria is getting a new top supercomputer: VSC-5, the latest iteration of the Vienna Scientific Cluster. The news was announced by VSC-5’s soon-to-be home, TU Wien (also known as the Vienna University of Technology).
TU Wien put the contract out to tender across Europe in 2019, and after a year of searching, awarded the contract to Megware, a supercomputing firm based on Chemnitz, Germany. While specs on VSC-5 are so far relatively sparse, VSC-5 will comprise some 1,500 AMD Epyc Milan 7003 CPUs (~99,000 cores), with the system further accelerated by Nvidia A100 GPUs. The system will, like its predecessor, use hot-water cooling, and TU Wien says that “special emphasis” was placed on energy efficiency. VSC-5 is expected to be operational within the year.
The system will succeed VSC-4, a Lenovo system that launched in 2019 with Intel Xeon Skylake CPUs and 2.7 Linpack petaflops of performance, a strong showing that earned the system — pictured in the header — a place in the top hundred systems (#82) on that year’s Top500. “Nevertheless,” TU Wien wrote in its press release, “it was time for an update.” (VSC-3, a ClusterVision system, also placed in the top hundred when it launched in 2014, as did VSC-2 – a Megware system, like VSC-5 will be – when it launched in 2011.)
VSC-5 will be installed at TU Wien, but the university is developing and operating the system in collaboration with the Graz University of Technology (based in Graz, Austria), the University of Innsbruck (based in Innsbruck, Austria) and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna (also known as BOKU), with support from Austria’s Ministry of Education, Science and Research. This consortium of universities is a long-standing collaboration, stretching back through the various iterations of VSCs and the VSC Research Center that has hosted them.
“This collaboration has already proven itself very well through the four VSC generations to date,” said Herbert Störi (translated), a professor at TU Wien and head of the VSC Research Center. “By combining our resources, we can jointly provide research with a much more powerful supercomputer than would be possible at a single university.”
The announcement of VSC-5, of course, comes during a flurry of news around the European Commission’s EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU). Seven of the first eight EuroHPC systems have been detailed, and the first (MeluXina, based in Luxembourg) is already operational. While Austria is a member of EuroHPC, VSC-5 is not a EuroHPC system – though news on the European supercomputing front is all but sure to ensue during ISC21, set to debut virtually toward the end of this month.