Finnish supercomputer contender will be climate neutral

Finnish supercomputer contender will be climate neutral

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

A supercomputer in Finland that aims to be one of the most powerful in the world will be powered completely by hydroelectricity for the first time, making it climate neutral.

The growing performance requirements of supercomputers are driving up the power consumption, raising issues of the impact of the resulting carbon emissions on the environment.

LUMI (Large Unified Modern Infrastructure) in Kajaani, Finland will be built by HP Enterprises using AMD’s 64 core EPYC ‘Milan’ x86 processors and Instinct GPUs and Cray’s Slingshot interconnect. There will be 117 petabytes of storage with an aggregated I/O bandwidth of 2 TBytes/s and a global bandwidth of 160 TBytes/s. The latest server cards require high levels of current to meet the performance requirements. 

This will provide a theoretical peak of 552PFLOPS of performance (375PFLOPS sustained) in a key step to an exascale computer and also provide machine learning capability. This specification would make it the most powerful supercomputer in the world today, exceeding the ARM-based Fugaku Supercomputer in Japan and Summit in the US. When it launched in mid 2021 it is still likely to be in the top ten.

200MW of power will be supplied by Swedish group Vattenfall from a hydroelectric source and combined with warm-water cooling of the servers. The waste heat generated by warm-water cooling can be used to heat the local town.

The €200m LUMI project is one of the three pre-exascale supercomputers built as part of the pan-European EuroHPC initiative alongside systems in Barcelona,Spain and Milan, Italy.

“Once operational in mid-2021, the LUMI supercomputer will be one of the most competitive and green supercomputers in the world! Such a leadership-class system will support European researchers, industry, and public sector, in better understanding and responding to complex challenges and transforming them into innovation opportunities in sectors like health, weather forecasting, or urban and rural planning,” said Anders Dam Jensen, Executive Director of EuroHPC Joint Undertaking.

Next: Supercomputer modelling

Up to 20 percent of the performance will be available to small and medium sized companies in Europe. “The technology we are using is strongly based on mathematical modelling: analyses, artificial intelligence, simulations, and optimization. Therefore, powerful computing capacity and data management infrastructure are of the utmost importance for us. The LUMI infrastructure will open up entirely new possibilities for us, which we may exploit,” said Anna-Maria Henell, CEO of Disior, a Finnish company developing software for creating and analysing 3D medical images.

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