NHR@FAU to Install New CPU and GPU Systems

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On December 14, Prof. Gerhard Wellein, Director of the NHR@FAU, and Mr. André Singer of MEGWARE Computer Vertrieb und Service GmbH from Chemnitz-Röhrsdorf signed the contract for the installation of two new HPC clusters worth about 10 million €. MEGWARE prevailed against several competitors in the EU-wide “competitive dialog.” The systems will be funded by the NHR, FAU, the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts, the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, and Hof University of Applied Sciences.

The CPU-based cluster will comprise more than 300 nodes, each with two AMD “Turin” high-core-count CPUs (Zen 5c microarchitecture) and 768 GiB of main memory, linked via an NDR-200 high-speed network. This general-purpose machine will deliver good performance and scalability for the widest possible range of applications from all research fields and is expected to be installed in the first half of 2025. Its GPGPU counterpart will contain more than 40 nodes, each with four NVIDIA H100 accelerator cards. This architecture is well suited for machine learning and artificial intelligence applications, but can also be used in atomistic simulations in chemistry and the life sciences. Each node is equipped with two connections to the NDR-200 network. The installation of the “AI computer” is planned for the second half of 2024. A 3 Pbyte high-performance parallel file system based on the tried-and-tested Lustre architecture provides sufficient capacity for short and medium-term data storage. It will be accessible from both clusters at high bandwidth.

Both systems will have direct water cooling, which will lead to very energy-efficient operation; only the power supply units of the GPGPU nodes will still be air cooled. This also enables considerable savings in infrastructure compared to conventional, fully air-cooled supercomputers.

The clusters will be available to scientists at FAU and in northern Bavaria as well as nationwide as part of the NHR Alliance. To get access, a project application must be submitted which convincingly demonstrates the necessity of the simulations to be carried out and the suitability of the programs to be used for the available computer architectures. In Erlangen, research projects are mainly (but not exclusively) carried out in the fields of chemistry, life sciences and materials science. In the three years of its existence, the NHR@FAU has built up considerable know-how in order to provide customers with optimum support for their projects.

Image: From left to right: Dr. Nils Blümer (KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt), Prof. Michael Hartmann (FAU), and Prof. René Peinl (HS Hof) whose institutions contributed to the funding for the new systems, André Singer (MEGWARE GmbH) and Prof. Gerhard Wellein (FAU) on the day the contract was signed. Also present: the founder of FAU, Margrave Friedrich von Brandenburg-Bayreuth.

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wellein

Professorship for High Performance Computing, Head of NHR@FAU

Department of Computer Science
Professorship for High Performance Computing