The Eurora supercomputer

Supercomputer sets energy efficiency world record

A supercomputer has set a new record for data centre energy efficiency.

The Eurora supercomputer, built by Eurotech and installed at the Cineca facility in Bologna, Italy, the country’s most powerful supercomputing centre, reached 3,150 megaflops per watt of sustained performance – a mark 26 per cent higher than the top system on the most recent Green500 list of the world’s most efficient supercomputers.

Eurora uses NVIDIA Tesla GPU accelerators based on NVIDIA Kepler, the world’s fastest and most efficient high performance computing (HPC) architecture.

The supercomputer achieved the record-breaking achievement by combining 128 high-performance, energy-efficient NVIDIA Tesla K20 accelerators with the Eurotech Aurora Tigon supercomputer, featuring Aurora Hot Water Cooling technology, which uses direct hot water cooling on all electronic and electrical components of the HPC system.

Available to members of the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) and major Italian research entities, Eurora will enable scientists to advance research and discovery across a range of scientific disciplines, including material science, astrophysics, life sciences and Earth sciences.

“Advanced computer simulations that enable scientists to discover new phenomena and test hypotheses require massive amounts of performance, which can consume a lot of power,” said Sanzio Bassini, director of HPC department at Cineca.

“Equipped with the ultra-efficient Aurora system and NVIDIA GPU accelerators, Eurora will give European researchers the computing muscle to study all types of physical and biological systems, while allowing us to keep data centre power consumption and costs in check.”

Pairing NVIDIA Tesla K20 GPUs with Eurotech’s Aurora Hot Water Cooling technology, the Eurora system is more efficient and compact than conventional air-cooled solutions.

HPC systems based on the Eurora hardware architecture, including the Eurotech Aurora Tigon, enable data centres to potentially reduce energy bills by up to 50  per cent and reduce total cost of ownership by 30-50 per cent.

In addition, the use of Aurora Hot Water Cooling technology reduces or eliminates the need for air conditioning in typically warm climates like Italy.

“This record result is enabled by the energy efficiency and performance driven Eurotech design leveraging the NVIDIA Tesla K20 accelerators.” – said Giampietro Tecchiolli, Eurotech CTO.

“In addition to that, Eurotech’s Aurora Hot Water Cooling technology allows “free cooling”, air conditioning avoidance, in warm climates like the Italian one, reaching record low data center PUE values (1.05), while providing complete flexibility on data centre location.”

The thermal energy the system produces can be used to heat buildings, drive adsorption chillers for air conditioning or generate tri-generation, the combined production of electricity, heating and cooling.

“GPU accelerators are inherently more energy efficient than CPUs, and Tesla K20 accelerators widen this gap considerably,” said Sumit Gupta, general manger of the Tesla accelerated computing business at NVIDIA.

“Energy efficiency has become the defining element of computing performance.

"GPUs enable data centre computer systems of all sizes – from small clusters to future exascale-class systems – to achieve performance goals within an economically feasible energy budget.”

Eurotech said that compared to a conventional air-cooled system, Aurora HPCs enable data centres to save up to 50 percent on energy bills, while reducing space occupancy by 5 times due to higher density system configurations.

The Eurora supercomputer is a prototype system developed for Cineca under the PRACE 2IP initiative aiming to provide a sustainable, high-quality infrastructure to meet the demanding needs of HPC users.

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