How would I build a supercomputer

BASF and HPE build supercomputers for chemical research

BASF commissions Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to build a supercomputer. This is based on the Apollo 6000 series from HPE and is to be used for industrial chemical research. The new supercomputer will be stationed at BASF's headquarters in Ludwigshafen.

The current Apollo 6000 system is based on the Intel Xeon E3 V3 processor family and on the Omni-Path architecture. The latter offers the necessary bandwidth for fast response times. The management software from HPE is supposed to ensure that the computer, which consists of several hundred computing nodes, acts like a single system. The system architecture allows several computing nodes to work on a complex problem at the same time. BASF and HPE are still holding back on further specifications.

The current Apollo 6000 system is the basis for the new supercomputer at BASF, which is to be used for industrial chemical research. The system will offer computing power of more than 1 petaflop (Image: HPE).

HPE expects a computing power of more than 1 petaflop. For comparison: the computer of the Max Planck Society in Garching near Munich reaches 1.28 petaflops and is currently 78th on the list of the 500 most powerful computers.

The new system will make it possible to answer complex questions regardless of the research area and to shorten the time until results are available from several months to days.

With the help of the supercomputer, BASF wants to significantly expand its capacity for virtual experiments and thus advance the digitization of research. The launch of new products and also the costs of development should be reduced in this way. Processes on catalyst surfaces, for example, can be simulated more precisely thanks to the higher computing power or new polymers with the desired properties can be developed more quickly.

"The supercomputer will enable the application and development of complex models and simulations and thus open up completely new possibilities for our BASF research," says Dr. Martin Bruderm├╝ller, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Management and Chief Technology Officer of BASF. "The supercomputer was planned and developed jointly by experts from BASF and HPE in order to precisely match our requirements."

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