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Ibm Xeon-Based Supercomputer to Hit Three Petaflops

By eWeek Europe

December 15, 2010

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IBM plans to build an Intel Xeon-based supercomputer that will reach a peak speed of three petaflops and use a hot water-cooling system, which will result in 40 percent less power consumption than an air-cooled machine. The system, called SuperMUC, will be housed at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) as part of the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure, according to Intel.

The SuperMUC system will be IBM's second water-cooled supercomputer, following the Aquasar system that was set up at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich in July. IBM's hot-water cooling technique cools HPC components with warm water and uses micro-channel liquid coolers hooked directly to the processors. Water generally removes heat 4,000 times more efficiently than air, according to Intel. "SuperMUC will provide previously unattainable energy efficiency along with peak performance by exploiting the massive parallelism of Intel's multicore processors and leveraging the innovative hot-water cooling technology pioneered by IBM," says LRZ's Arndt Bode.

The system will use more than 14,000 Xeon processors. IBM's development team will rely on Intel researchers for energy-efficiency contributions, and LRZ researchers for their expertise in high-end supercomputing systems.

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