On May 6th, 2014, the German Climate Computing Center (DKRZ) and Bull have signed a contract for the delivery of a petaflops-scale supercomputer, as well as cooperation on High Performance Computing support for climate research. The contract worth 26 million euros covers the delivery of all the key computing and storage components of the new high performance computing system for earth system research HLRE-3 (Hochleistungsrechnersystem für Erdsystemforschung, HLRE-3).

The entire HLRE-3 project with a total funding of 41 million euros also comprises diverse modifications and extensions of DKRZ's electrical and cooling infrastructure as well as a substantial extension of the data archive system. Two thirds of the funding is supplied by the German Federal Ministry for Research and Education (BMBF). The remaining part is financed by the Helmholtz Association (Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren). The Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht - Centre for Materials and Coastal Research (HZG), one of DKRZ's shareholders, is responsibe for organizing the proper flow of funds.

During the first configuration level, which will be ready to take up its operation at the begin of the second quarter of 2015, HLRE-3 will deliver six times the application performance compared to the current HLRE-II (Blizzard). In 2016, when the new computing system will finally be completed with more than 60,000 prozessor cores on the basis of B700 DLC Blades distributed over 60 Racks, it will achieve a peak performance of about 3 petaflops (3 quadrillion floating point operations per second) and the effective application performance will be 20 times higher than on the current computer. The corresponding Lustre-based storage component will in 2015 store up to 15 petabytes. In 2016 it will be extended to about 45 petabytes and then be one of the largest storage systems in the world.

Latest computing technology ensures the HLRE-3 will only consume as much electrical power as its predecessor. BULL developed a new cooling technology HPC-systems: the system being purchased by the Hamburg climate researchers will be cooled using warm water, a technology that requires significantly less energy than standard cooling systems, as the heat generated by processors and memory modules is extracted as close as possible to source.

The expertise in the optimization of software codes developed by Bull’s Parallel Programming team in Grenoble was a key factor in DKRZ decision. DKRZ and Bull will also cooperate to improve the scalability of climate models and the corresponding software algorithms.

In addition to Bull, Intel („Haswell“- and „Broadwell“ CPUs), Xyratex (storage system) and Mellanox (high-speed network) participate as further hardware suppliers and partners. 

The procurements for further HLRE-3 upgrades like that for the high performance storage system and of the tape archive are performed separately. Extensive modifications and expansions concerning the infrastructure within the data center are planned to improve energy efficiency and to minimize outages.


Download German press release (pdf-file)

Download English press release (pdf-file)

Vertragsunterzeichnung_stehend Prof. Thomas Ludwig, director of DKRZ, Gerd-Lothar Leonhart and Philippe Miltin, directors of Bull (from right to left), have signed the contract for the delivery of a petaflops-scale computing system. (Photo: Richartz, Bull)
 Vertragsunterzeichnung Gruppenfoto The teams of DKRZ and Bull, who were involved in preparing the contract. (Photo: Böttinger, DKRZ)
 Vertragsunterzeichnung_Haende (Photo: Richartz, Bull)
 Bullx Racks (hier baugleiches System bei MeteoFrance) Equivalent Bullx racks system at CEA in France. (Photo: Bull)

MooresLaw_HLRE3 Since its foundation the peak performance of the supercomputers at DKRZ (red line, given in gigaflops) has increase rapidly. It follows the projected rise of Moore’s Law. (Graphic: DKRZ)