July 9, 2020 — Finding patterns and relationships in the ever-increasing data streams of our time is a great opportunity and at the same time a challenge for the digital society. Scientists at the Institute for Data Science at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Jena are researching how previously unknown dependencies on climate parameters can be identified from a large number of measurements from space and on Earth, and unexpected relationships and contents in data series can be visualized in a user-oriented manner and citizens can be integrated as part of Citizen Science projects. Machine learning and data mining methods are the tools of the researchers. With the on 9, The inauguration of the High Performance Data Analysis Cluster (HPDA) took place in July 2020, and the right high-performance computing infrastructure is now available to give research on the analysis of big data a further boost in science. The inauguration took place in the presence of the Thuringian Minister of Economics, Science and Digital Society, Wolfgang Tiefensee, at the computing center of the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena.
“This high-performance computer, which can handle huge amounts of data and complex operations, is a core element of future research work at the institute,” said Thuringia’s Minister of Science Wolfgang Tiefensee. Such infrastructure also offers starting points for further intensive cooperation with research institutions in the region, in particular the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. The country therefore also supported the investment in the HPDA cluster with three million euros. “Three years after the foundation, the DLR Institute is on the right track,” continues Tiefensee. Commissioning today is another important milestone in its development. “The digitalization of all areas of life is the mega trend of the present. Thanks to the DLR Institute in Jena, we are helping to shape part of this future from Thuringia. ”
5856 computing cores and a 49 terabyte main memory give the HPDA cluster a maximum computing power of around 700 TFlops. “With this new high-performance computer, we are strengthening DLR’s competencies in the area of machine learning and data science in the context of space research,” emphasized DLR Space Director Prof. Hansjörg Dittus. “This is an important step in the further development of our institute for data science in Jena, where our scientists can now provide excellent technical support for powerful methods for processing and analyzing large databases,” continued Dittus. The collaboration of the Jena researchers with other DLR institutes. “The HPDA cluster is the central tool for the development of new methods,Earth observation institutes on the cluster of the Leibniz data center can be used in operational operations, ”adds Dr. Robert Axmann, founding director of the DLR Institute for Data Science.
Data mining for climate research
Methods of data mining and machine learning that have been further developed in Jena should help to identify previously unknown or underestimated dependencies between different climate parameters in the data streams of climate research. The EU research project is one of the first projectsiMIRACLI (innovative MachIne leaRning to constrain Aerosol-cloud CLimate Impacts)Use the new HPDA cluster to track and quantify the effects of aerosol-cloud interactions from the microscopic scale to the large-scale climate. Among other things, aerosols are formed when fossil fuels are burned and are finely divided, microscopic particles in the air that influence cloud formation. In addition, they scatter and absorb solar radiation and thus influence the radiation balance of the atmosphere and thus the climate. Earth, with its atmosphere, oceans and continents, is one of the most observed complex dynamic systems. For decades, satellites and ground stations have been delivering ever larger amounts of data for almost all parts of the world that have to be analyzed, and this is supplemented by global climate models,
Visual analysis and citizen science
In addition, the researchers in Jena will use the new HPDA cluster in the field of visual analysis to further develop data mining processes that innovatively process huge data streams, discover unimagined relationships and content therein, and visualize them in a user-oriented manner. Complex relationships, statistical uncertainties or special features in the data are thus easily visible to the user. Research on the integration of citizen science data in analysis processes is also being advanced using the new high-performance computer. One example here is data that citizens collect on soil moisture or the state of vegetation in their local environment, which is then incorporated into the calibration of satellite-based earth observation data.
Data highway between DLR and Jena University
The newly installed HPDA cluster was installed in the computer center of the university with the support of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. The high-performance computer supplied and set up by MEGWARE consists of 118 MEGWARE computing nodes and 4 GPU nodes, each with 8 NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs. These are equipped with scalable Intel® Xeon® Platinum CPUs and serve primarily to support scientific work in the field of climate informatics and machine learning. The data is transferred between the computing nodes via an Intel Omni-Path network at 100 gigabits per second (GBit / s), the connection to the institute itself is realized via an inner-city 10 GBit / s fiber optic connection. The HPDA cluster is an important basis for the joint research of various scientific working groups of the DLR and the Thuringian universities. The DLR Institute for Data Science in Jena currently employs around 40 people and 20 students and will gradually expand in the future.
The DLR is the research center of the Federal Republic of Germany for aerospace. His extensive research and development work in aviation, space travel, energy, transport, security and digitalization is integrated into national and international collaborations. In addition to its own research, the DLR-based space management is responsible for the planning and implementation of German space activities on behalf of the Federal Government. In addition, the DLR acts as an umbrella organization for two project promoters for research funding.