The DPA reported that Europe’s first supercomputer, capable of performing more than one quintillion (ten to the eighteenth power, 1 and 18 zeroes) operations per second, will be built at a research centre in western Germany.
The device’s computing power will exceed that of five million laptops, the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC) near Cologne said. The supercomputer will solve important and urgent scientific problems such as climate change, how to deal with pandemics, and sustainable energy production, said the announcement of the institute.
The machine will cost 500 million euros. Half of the funding comes from the European Supercomputing Initiative, with the German Federal Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science of North Rhine-Westphalia providing the rest. The computer, which will bear the name JUPITER (short for “Joint Undertaking Pioneer for Innovative and Transformative Exascale Research”), is designed as a “green” supercomputer and will be powered by green electricity. It is expected to be activated in 2023.
The computer will be installed in a specially designed building on the Forschungszentrum Jülich campus. JSC already has supercomputers JUWELS and JURECA which currently rank among the most powerful in the world.
JSC had participated in the application procedure for a high-end supercomputer as a member of the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS). It is an association of the three national supercomputing centres JSC in Jülich, High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) and Leibniz Computing Centre (LRZ) in Garching. The competition was held by the European supercomputing initiative EuroHPC JU, which the European Union formed along with European countries and private companies.
The final decision on the location of Europe’s first exascale computer was taken by EuroHPC in Kajaani, Finland, during the opening of Europe’s first-ever pre-exascale computer. Since the beginning of June, LUMI has been the fastest supercomputer in Europe and is ranked third on the current TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. For the first time, an exascale US supercomputer Frontier has officially been at the top of this list since May.
JUPITER is now set to be the first European supercomputer to take the leap into the exascale class. In terms of computing power, it will be more powerful than 5 million modern laptops or personal computers. Like Jülich’s current supercomputer JUWELS, JUPITER will be based on a dynamic, modular supercomputing architecture, which Forschungszentrum Jülich developed together with European and international partners in the EU’s DEEP research projects.
Prof. Dr. Astrid Lambrecht, Member of the Board of Directors of Forschungszentrum Jülich, says, “Our goal is to offer the most powerful infrastructure in Europe that combines neuromorphic, super and quantum computing.”
In a modular supercomputer, various computing modules are coupled together. This enables program parts of complex simulations to be distributed over several modules, ensuring that the various hardware properties can be optimally utilized in each case. The modular construction also means that the system is well prepared for integrating future technologies such as quantum computing or neuromorphic modules, which simulate the functional behaviour of the human brain.
JUPITER will have an enormously powerful booster module with highly efficient GPU-based computation accelerators in its basic configuration. Massive parallel applications are accelerated by this booster in a similar way to a turbocharger, for example, to calculate high-resolution climate models, develop new materials, simulate complex cell processes and energy systems, advance basic research, or train next-generation, computationally intensive machine-learning algorithms.
One major challenge is the energy that is required for such large computing power. The average power is anticipated to be up to 15 megawatts. The envisaged warm water cooling system should help to ensure that JUPITER achieves the highest efficiency values. At the same time, the cooling technology opens up the possibility of intelligently using the waste heat that is produced. For example, just like its predecessor system JUWELS, JUPITER will be connected to the new low-temperature network on the Forschungszentrum Jülich campus. Forschungszentrum Jülich is investigating further potential applications for the waste heat from JUPITER.
“With the leap towards Exascale, we are working together with strong partners to maintain our digital sovereignty in Germany and Europe..” says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Marquardt, Chair of the Board of Directors of Forschungszentrum Jülich.