March 10, 2020 — The University of Ulm has a new high-performance computer: With a theoretical performance of 2 petaflops, the 4.4 million euro supercomputer JUSTUS 2 sets new standards. On Friday, March 6, Ministerial Director Ulrich Steinbach ( State Ministry for Science, Research and Art ) and Ulm University President Professor Michael Weber , among others, pressed the symbolic start button. Representatives of the cooperation partner NEC Deutschland GmbH also traveled to the official commissioning.
Like the previous system, JUSTUS 2 is optimally geared towards the research areas of theoretical chemistry as well as quantum and solid state physics. “JUSTUS 2 enables highly complex computer simulations at the molecular and atomic level, for example from chemistry and quantum science, as well as complex data analysis. And this with significantly higher energy efficiency than its predecessor, ”said Ulrich Steinbach. “The new high-performance computer will be available to researchers from all over Baden-Württemberg and is therefore – particularly with regard to battery research – a very sensible investment in the future of our science and business location.”
JUSTUS 2 corresponds to 15,000 laptops
JUSTUS 2 is one of the 400 most powerful supercomputers in the world (as of KW 10). With 33,696 CPU cores, the system corresponds to 15,000 conventional laptops. A five-fold increase in performance can be expected compared to the predecessor. “The theoretical maximum performance of JUSTUS 2 is more than 2 petaflops. By using the latest technologies, the computing power-related energy requirement could be reduced by almost a factor of three compared to the previous system, ”said Professor Stefan Wesner, head of the Communication and Information Center (kiz) at the University of Ulm. Even after the successful commissioning of JUSTUS 2, the cooperation with the suppliers NEC Deutschland GmbH and Intel Deutschland GmbH continues.
As part of this cooperation, the partners will jointly develop access methods to high-performance computing (HPC) resources from the cloud and for the use of “machine learning” in chemical applications. “The combination of HPC simulation and data evaluation with methods of artificial intelligence brings a new quality in the use of high-performance computers – and NEC is at the forefront of this development,” added Yuichi Kojima, managing director of NEC Deutschland GmbH.
Complex calculations and simulations are possible
The previous supercomputer from the University of Ulm was involved in at least 530 scientific publications – and JUSTUS 2 will build on this success: More than 30 research groups from all over Baden-Württemberg want to use its computing and storage power promptly. The HPC competence center “Computational Chemistry and Quantum Sciences” at the University of Ulm continues to support efficient use . In this center of excellence, researchers are supported by a team with expertise in high-performance computing and in the natural sciences.
When commissioning JUSTUS 2, the Ulm quantum physicist Professor Fedor Jelezko reported on possible uses of the supercomputer: “We will use the high-performance computer JUSTUS 2 for quantum chemical calculations. Using the predecessor system, we have already calculated the wave function of so-called nitrogen vacancy centers in artificial diamonds and the coupling of these centers to nuclear spins. ”In 2019, Jelezko, together with research colleagues, obtained a top-class ERC Synergy Grant for 9.4 million euros. In addition, the Ulm battery research ennobled with a cluster of excellence benefits particularly from JUSTUS 2. In addition to the Donaustadt, chemistry professor Andreas Köhn from the University of Stuttgart countsto the important future users. With the help of JUSTUS 2, Professor Köhn will apply the highly accurate quantum chemical methods developed by him and his staff to calculations on systems with a complex electronic structure – one example is transition metal compounds.
Supercomputer weighs 13 tons
JUSTUS 2 has 702 nodes with two processors each. The entire system is divided into 13 so-called racks, which are 2.2 meters high. Each of these racks, cooled with water or air, weighs one ton. After completion of the construction work, the system will first be configured and extensively tested in the coming weeks before the supercomputer is handed over to normal user operation. The predecessor JUSTUS and JUSTUS 2 are operated in parallel until all data have been migrated.
The new high-performance computer from the University of Ulm cost around 4.4 million euros. The system, named after the German chemist Justus von Liebig, was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the state of Baden-Württemberg and the universities of Ulm, Stuttgart and Freiburg . “High-performance computing is essential, especially at a science and technology-oriented university like Ulm. Therefore JUSTUS 2 is a significant investment in the future of our strategic development areas and beyond, ”summed up computer science professor and university president Professor Michael Weber. The guests then had the opportunity to visit the JUSTUS 2 high-performance computer.
Source: University of Ulm
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