IBM Power 6 Supercomputer to boost research at Max Planck Society

The new supercomputer with more than 125 Teraflop/s peak performance, based on the world’s fastest microprocessor, completes a major upgrade of supercomputer resources for fundamental research in the Max Planck Society.

April 28, 2008

The German Max Planck Society (MPG) has received an IBM supercomputer powered by the world’s fastest microprocessor - IBM’s Power 6. The new Power 575 system, with more than 6,600 Power 6 processors and a theoretical peak performance of over 125 Teraflop/s, completes a major upgrade of the Society's supercomputer resources at Garching Computing Centre (RZG) - the HMPG-3 complex. In September 2007, the Max Planck Society began installing the first IBM Blue Gene/P system, with 40 teraflops peak performance.

The new Power 575 system ranks among the most powerful supercomputers in Europe. Together with the recently installed Blue Gene/P system, it replaces the HMPG-2, an IBM Power4-based supercomputer, which was Germany’s most powerful supercomputer in 2002.

The Max Planck Society’s new IBM supercomputer complex increases the total computing power available to scientists by a factor of more than 30, while increasing the energy consumption only by a factor of three. Both the Blue Gene/P and Power 575 systems are designed to maximize energy efficiency.

The new system will help Max Planck researchers take major steps to address new scientific problems that were previously out of reach.

Research awaiting the new computers includes experiments to explore the nano world, and projects that will probe the formation of the universe. Topics include: high resolution cosmological and stellar simulations; studies of the nature of gravitation and of dark matter; and simulations to improve our knowledge of the structure of matter and biological systems. Planck’s plasma physicists will carry out realistic simulations of turbulence in fusion devices, in support of the worldwide ITER fusion project.

"The new IBM supercomputer gives Max Planck scientists the ability to again conduct competitive, state-of-the-art research in the field of numerical simulations," said Stefan Heinzel, director of RZG.

"Very attractive for Max Planck researchers is also the single application performance increase between a factor of up to 30 for highly scaling codes and a minimum factor of four to five for codes scaling up to only 512 processor-cores or less, in comparison to the preceding Power4 based system which had offered 512 processors in the largest batch queue", explains Hermann Lederer, head of application support at RZG.

"IBM’s relationship with the Max Planck Society goes back 46 years. Over the years, the Society has steadily advanced the state of supercomputing in Europe," said Dave Turek, Vice President of supercomputing for IBM. "IBM is a committed partner in supporting the Max Planck Society's goal of addressing some of the most daunting scientific problems known to man."

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