Germany’s HLRN Acquires SGI Systems Powered By 25,000 Processor Cores

Under a new contract signed this month, SGI will equip the North German
Group for High- and Highest-Performance Computers with a new SGI Altix
supercomputer complex 60 times more powerful than HLRN’s current


Within the framework of a new cooperative project, the six German states of




Lower Saxony,
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein have agreed to pool their
resources, along with funds from the federal government, to purchase the new
system, known as “HLRN-II.”

The two-phase installation includes approximately 25,000 processor cores:
some 12,500 cores will be deployed at the HLRN’s facility in

with the remaining 12,500 installed at the HLRN’s facility in

The initial SGI Altix

ICE and SGI Altix XE systems will be
deployed on the premises of the HLRN system’s operators: the Konrad-Zuse-Zentrum
f r Informationstechnik in

(ZIB, and the Regionales Rechenzentrum f r Niedersachsen (RRZN,
in the spring of 2008. Both systems will be connected via a rapid data line:
the so-called “HLRN Link.” The two system complexes in Hannover and

Berlin will be closely
integrated and interconnected to create a unified overall system (one-system

After the second phase of expansion has been completed, the HLRN’s new
supercomputer complex will have a maximal performance of 312 Teraflops per
second. This means that the North German Computer Group will own and operate
one of the world’s highest-capacity systems. Only one system with a higher
maximal performance is listed on the current roster of the world’s Top 500
supercomputers. All in all, the German complex will have at its disposal more
than 90 Terabytes (

TB) of main memory and 2.3
Petabytes of SGI InfiniteStorage storage capacity.

The project’s first phase of expansion is planned for March 2008. The second
phase of expansion will be subdivided into two portions, which are scheduled
for the end of 2008 and for September 2009. During each expansion phase, a
Massively Parallel Processing System, a Symmetric Multiprocessing System and a
Global File System will be delivered and installed. SGI is the contractual
vendor of both HLRN sites, where it will provide the corresponding solutions.
As in all SGI server systems, the HLRN system complex will likewise
exclusively use Intel processors. Intel’s technological leadership in the
development of processors is a major contributor toward the success of the

SGI has distinguished itself as a supplier with a clear focus on the

market. The company’s flexibility and expertise, along with its technological
leadership in high-performance computing, were principal factors leading to the
decision in its favor. The new supercomputer complex will significantly
strengthen the competitive position of North German advanced research in
diverse fields including environmental and climatic research, geological,
coastal and oceanic research, the biological sciences, shipbuilding, quantum
chemistry, and the engineering sciences.

“The HLRN-II represents a tremendous advance for basic research in

We’re pleased that the Regional Computer Center of Lower Saxony will also
contribute its services to Leibniz University Hannover in the future,”

Prof. Gabriele von Voigt, Managing Director
of the Regional Computer Center of Lower Saxony. “With the new SGI Altix
systems, the HLRN Group will be equipped, for the first time, with more than
25,000 processor cores,” said Herr

Alexander Reinefeld, ZIB Berlin.

Robert belmesser, Managing Director of Silicon Graphics GmbH,

Germany, says,
“With the signing of this contract, the HLRN’s users will have at their
disposal performance of more than 312 TFlop/s. In addition to the more than 312
TFlops/s performance another trailblazing goal of HLRN’s concept is an
integrated total system distributed over two locations. This concept makes it
possible to combine existing infrastructure in order to take into account the
dramatically increasing demands which future high-performance computers will
make on the infrastructure of computer centers, especially with regard to
electrical supply and cooling.”

The call for bidders, in accord with the “negotiation method” for
allocation of public-sector commissions, took place under the aegis of the
Regional Computer Center of Leibniz University Hannover (RRZN). A lengthy and
tough competition lasting nearly half a year preceded today’s decision. The
HLRN-II will replace the previous IBM system.

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