Technologies and equipment
The key technology investment in the framework of the IT4Innovations CE project is acquisition of Supercomputing Centre with estimated value of EUR 32 million.
What is supercomputer
"A supercomputer is a computer that is at the frontline of current processing capacity, particularly speed of calculation. Supercomputers are used for highly calculation-intensive tasks such as problems involving quantum physics, weather forecasting, climate research, molecular modelling (computing the structures and properties of chemical compounds, biological macromolecules, polymers, and crystals), physical simulations (such as simulation of airplanes in wind tunnels, simulation of the detonation of nuclear weapons, and research into nuclear fusion)."
- Cluster for multidisciplinary computing: approx. 32768 cores with x86_64 architecture, e.g. 32 cores per node, and total of 1024 nodes; RAM 144GB per node - estimated computing performance 866TFlops
- Windows HPC cluster: approx. 4096 cores with x86_64 architecture, e.g. 16 cores per node , and total of 256 nodes; RAM 72GB per node - estimated computing performance 68TFlops
- Specialized GPU cluster: approx. 800 CPU + 24000 GPU cores, e.g. 16 CPU + 480 GPU cores per node and total of 50 nodes; RAM 72GB per node - estimated combined computing performance 35TFlops
- SMP/NUMA computing system: 128-256 cores; RAM 2.3TB - estimated computing performance 6TFlops
- Data storages: fast disk storages – SAS technology with capacity 250TB; large disk storages – SATA technology with capacity 1PB; tape storages with capacity 2.4PB
The proposed configuration reflects the situation foreseen for the time of technology acquisition. However, it can be expected that by 2014 when a substantial part of the supercomputing technology is planned to be purchased, this configuration may change.
Many of the goals of the proposed project are closely interlinked with the solution of computationally demanding tasks. Some tasks – especially in SC4Simulations, IT4People, Theory4IT – require up to 50-100TFlops computing performance and data storage measured in petabytes. No computer in the Czech Republic currently fulfils these criteria. However, the use of resources outside the Czech Republic is highly problematic. The majority of supercomputer centres are specialized, and – as we have found out – their capacities are in great demand. In one of the European supercomputing centres, it was necessary to wait over a week for the allocation of the required capacity, let alone the time spent arranging access to the centre, which takes the form of miniprojects. However, the most serious obstacle to the use of supercomputer centres in other locations is the necessity of maintaining full control over all computing and infrastructure resources of the center. Tasks solved e.g. as part of IT4Disaster&Traffic Management require computationally very demanding real time simulations (or near-real time simulations), on a 365/7/24 basis, because these simulations will be used by crisis centres to ensure the safety of the population. For obvious reasons, this service cannot be provided by centres in other locations, where it is necessary to wait several days or even weeks to be allocated the necessary capacity. As this will be the first supercomputer in the Czech Republic as a whole, we plan to provide part of the computer’s capacity to other external research institutions, private companies and institutions of local and national government. These organizations will thus gain access to a high-powered supercomputer whose capacity will rank it among the top computers of http://www.top500.org. For these reasons, the proposed project involves the establishment of a supercomputing center, as this is an essential tool to achieve the project’s aims and provides an irreplaceable resource for the development of scientific research at the national and international levels.
Other equipment will be purchased in connection with research tasks of the IT4Innovations Centre of Excellence. The project team now has a complete list of all of this equipment, including full specifications. Examples of large-scale and smaller-scale investments are:
- Equipment for research, development and verification of modern elements of mechatronic systems in automotive electronics - testing static and dynamic behaviour of mechatronic systems, properties of active members and various types of communication interfaces, etc.
- Development kit for multidimensional processing of biomedical data in real time – to be used as part of EC4Innovative Medicine: this equipment will be used in innovation processes for computer tomography, ultrasound diagnostics, diagnostic imaging and recognition of morphological changes.
- Robotic platform for research & development of multiagent systems, cognitive sciences and collective robotics – to be used at the centre of research of intelligent systems.