Czech Hydrometeorological Institute puts NEC supercomputer into operation

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Researchers at the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMI) will be able to make use of a new supercomputing system for high-resolution climate modelling.

The new system will be used for climate research. For example, it will help to predict the future frequency and intensity of drought periods, and the change of extremity of weather phenomena like flash floods and strong winds. 

The ultimate goal is to help prepare adaptation measures, mitigating the impacts of the changing climate. In addition, it acts as a development system for the adaptation and optimisation of certain meteorological codes and climate applications that benefit greatly from the vectorisation on SX-Aurora TSUBASA.

Dr Radmila Brozkova, head of the CHMI Numerical Weather Prediction department said: ‘We are very happy to bring the new NEC SX-Aurora TSUBASA into operation. For us, NEC’s vector technology that SX-Aurora TSUBASA provides represents a highly attractive alternative to competing HPC technologies, especially since we do not need to rewrite the majority of our productive codes. Another great advantage is the excellent ratio between the applicative performance gain factor and power consumption.’

The SX-Aurora TSUBASA supercomputer was delivered by NEC Deutschland in September 2020 and operational readiness was declared in December 2020. 

At the heart of the system are 48 vector hosts containing 384 vector engine cards of type VE 20B in a directly liquid-cooled (DLC) environment. This is combined with a fully non-blocking high-speed interconnect based on Mellanox HDR InfiniBand network technology, and a total of 18 Terabytes of HBM2 high-speed memory, and 24 Terabytes of DDR4 main memory. In addition, an HPC parallel storage solution on the basis of the NEC LxFS-z Storage Appliance with a usable capacity of more than 2 Petabyte was deployed.

NEC uses a highly efficient DLC concept using cold water by combining DLC and side cooler technology to avoid any leakage of waste heat into the computer room, which allows the complete system and the environment to operate without any additional air-conditioning in place.

Yuichi Kojima, managing director of NEC Deutschland and vice president HPC stated: ‘It is an honour for us that CHMI has selected NEC for the delivery of our latest HPC solution, which clearly guides the way into the future of climate modelling and weather forecasting. CHMI is a very important customer for us, and we are happy to provide our strongest support not only for smooth operations but also by performance that optimises the climate applications in use.’