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Fastest Computer in Europe Comes to Jülich

Signing of contract gives green light to construction of new supercomputer

[25. Juni 2007]

Jülich, 25 June 2007 - Research Centre Jülich pushes its way to the top to become one of the world's leading supercomputer centres. By autumn, Jülich will have a new supercomputer which will then be Europe's fastest computer and will most likely feature amongst the top three worldwide. On Monday morning, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Research Centre Jülich, Prof. Achim Bachem, and CEO of IBM Germany, Martin Jetter, signed the necessary contract in Jülich, giving the green light to the construction phase.

"With this step, we have laid the groundwork for continuing to provide the science community with adequate computing capacities for computer simulations in the future", said Prof. Achim Bachem, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Research Centre Jülich on the occasion of the signing of the contract. Supercomputers have long been considered the third pillar of research by the science community - alongside theory and experiment - and they allow us to gain knowledge on complex issues. In order to keep pace with the growing demand for computing resources in physics, chemistry, environmental research, materials science, and the life sciences, the trend is to be consistently followed, and by the year 2009, one of the planned European computing centres of the petaflop era will be in Jülich.

"Research Centre Jülich is an important partner for us", said Martin Jetter, CEO of IBM Germany. "We don't see Jülich simply as a customer, but also as a colleague with whom we can continue to successfully develop the most powerful computers." Jülich sets high benchmarks, particularly in the areas of communications infrastructure and the development of algorithms. When IBM delivers the supercomputer, the Research Centre will become one of the first places worldwide to have a Blue Gene/P system, which IBM will showcase on 27 June at the ISC Conference in Dresden.

With a computing power of over 220 teraflops (220 trillion arithmetic operations per second), the computer would sit in 2nd place in the current TOP500 list of the fastest supercomputers, just behind its similarly constructed brother in Livermore, USA. In Jülich in autumn, 65,000 processors will be in operation connected through an extremely efficient communication network of the latest generation. Blue Gene supercomputers stand out as a result of their compactness and energy efficiency. They use less than a tenth of the power required by similar computers.

The powerful computer will be housed in 16 compact presses, each around the size of a telephone booth, in the computer room in Research Centre Jülich, where its predecessors JUMP and JUBL will continue to be kept. This will mean there will be a suitable computer available for every scientific task. The Jülich supercomputers are used for calculations by around 200 European research groups. At Research Centre Jülich, scientists from all disciplines - from materials science and particle physics to medicine and environmental science - are afforded the opportunity to request computing time. Researchers in Jülich will receive support through a sophisticated three-tier system of contact people and experts. Only when it is eventually put into operation will its administrators give the new computer a name as they did its predecessors JUBL (Jülich Blue Gene/L) and JUMP (Jülich Multi Processor).


With the JUBL supercomputer in the background, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Research Centre Jülich, Achim Bachem (l.), and CEO of IBM Germany, Martin Jetter (r.), sign the contract for the installation of the new 220-teraflop supercomputer in Jülich. Photo: Research Centre Jülich


from left to right: Chairman of the Board of Directors of Research Centre Jülich, Achim Bachem, CEO of IBM Germany, Martin Jetter, and the Head of the Jülich Supercomputer Centre, Thomas Lippert, in front of the JUBL supercomputer, which will have a new larger computer as its neighbour in autumn. Photo: Research Centre Jülich


A strong team bring Europe's fastest computer to Jülich. (from left to right, sitting: Chairman of the Board of Directors of Research Centre Jülich, Achim Bachem, CEO of IBM Germany, Martin Jetter; standing: Thomas Lippert, Nurcan Rasig (IBM), Ulrich Groh (IBM), Wolfgang Gürich, Torsten Kurz (IBM), Ulrich Krafft)


Manageable space requirements, small heat output. The low cooling requirements thus achieved makes the operation of the JUBL supercomputer extremely cost effective. Photo: Research Centre Jülich


Simulations in Jülich: a laser beam hits gold foil and generates fast particles. This is basic research for compact particle emitters in technology and medicine. Photo: Research Centre Jülich

Press contact:

Kosta Schinarakis
Science journalist, Corporate Communications
Research Centre Jülich
52425 Jülich, Germany
Tel. 49 2461 61-4771, Fax 49 2461 61-4666
Mobile 49 174 166 765 3