Europe paves the way for the Exascale 2023 supercomputer

While the United States, China, Japan and other countries have set and even met targets for exascale supercomputing, the European continent has been less clear on its own path.

However, momentum is building, as the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU) has taken the first steps to establish the future site of Europe’s first exascale system and how it will be funded. The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking has sent out a call for proposals to sites likely to host Europe’s first exascale supercomputer, which the organization says could be acquired in 2022.

Under the proposal, EuroHPC will cover half of the costs of acquiring the system and up to half of the costs of operating the system. All infrastructure and site construction costs will be on the hosting site, but EuroHPC may include a portion of the site preparation and adaptation costs in the total cost of ownership to be covered by EuroHPC.

The simple goal, according to EuroHPC, is to build “a capability system with an aggregated level of performance capable of running at least an exaflop of sustained performance measured using the Linpack benchmark” and one that covers the needs of a wide range of applications “in particular, applications of great challenge which clearly require the use of the capacities of the supercomputer, that is to say the simultaneous use of a large part of the resources of the system.

Another important goal is to be able to “perform at least Level 1 measurement quality for a Top 500 submission” and centers will need to provide their own configuration specifications, including node types (with or without accelerators, nodes to high memory, etc.) as well as the memory, storage and network architecture offered and how these are distributed throughout the system. Additionally, competing sites will need to take these node counts and provide the expected Linpack numbers and expected performance expectations for the domains.

The 2022 horizon to acquire a system (with delivery in mid-2023) is fast approaching. Applications are expected by February, but EuroHPC also said submissions may include exascale paths versus straight systems, including prototype machines.

According to the call, “Interested hosting entities can also include in their application an optional system aimed at the development of an advanced experimental platform towards exascale systems. The objective of such a platform will be to develop an exploratory high-performance computing infrastructure for the development, integration, testing and co-design of a wide range of European technologies suitable to be part of future exascale systems. Europeans. The costs of developing, installing and operating such a platform are expected to be marginal compared to the overall cost of the proposal. “

To date, the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking has already purchased seven supercomputers, located across Europe. Five petascale supercomputers: Vega in Slovenia, MeluXina in Luxembourg, Discoverer in Bulgaria, Karolina in the Czech Republic and Deucalion in Portugal, as well as two EuroHPC LUMI pre-exascale supercomputers in Finland, Leonardo in Italy. The acquisition of the third EuroHPC pre-exascale supercomputer, MareNostrum5 in Spain, is underway.

If the hosting entity decides to include this optional system in its application and its application is selected, any grant that will be established to cover the operating costs of each EuroHPC supercomputer may also include a part covering up to 50 % of eligible costs. for the development of the advanced experimental platform towards exascale. The maximum costs cannot exceed 6% of the overall TCO of the EuroHPC supercomputer.

Only existing and robust sites can apply with such a short time frame, as the information required includes details of past experiences with the Top 500 class system.

The sites must have an electrical capacity of the order of 20 to 25 MW, as well as a UPS power supply to cover the other elements of the system (storage, networking) and large cooling capacities by air or liquid. in at least 700 square meters of raised floor.

Centers vying for Europe’s first exascale system will also be ranked based on a number of broader factors, including the expected total cost of ownership of the system in the context of the importance of the applications, the experience of the sites in the management of large systems, the overall physical and IT support infrastructure and the willingness to work with EuroHPC JU users. These sites will need to provide details of their PUE over the past year for existing systems, details of facility depreciation and current electricity tariffs, as well as the number of people currently required (and expected). ) to operate a future exascale system.

EuroHPC JU states that any hosting site must meet the basic requirements in time for the expected delivery time of June 2023. If this delivery time is met, it is conceivable that we could see the first exascale system in Europe in the Top 500 in November 2023.

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