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European research led by German HPC

Just before the European HPC community meets in Dublin for the PRACE Scientific and Industrial Conference 2015, the spotlight has fallen on German supercomputing with several announcements about European-wide research which Germany's Gauss Centre for Supercomputing enables.

The GCS, a hosting member of the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE), is supporting 14 scientific research projects from eight European countries resulting from the tenth call for proposals from Prace.

This research represents a total of 246.93 million core hours of computing time on GCS supercomputers: Hornet which is located at the High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS); and SuperMUC located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ), Garching/Munich.Eight of the 14 projects assigned to GCS resources will be served by Hornet, with the research spread across a total of 176.8 million core hours of compute time. The LRZ system, SuperMUC, will support six projects from the tenth PRACE call with a total of 70.1 million core hours.

The GCS introduced its newest tier-0 supercomputer called ‘Hornet’ at the end of 2014. Hornet is a Cray XC40 system which in its current configuration delivers a peak performance of 3.8 Petaflops across 94,646 compute cores.

The largest individual allocation of computing core hours awarded on a GCS supercomputer went to researchers of the Institute of Simulation Techniques and Scientific Computing at the University of Siegen. Professor Sabine Roller and her team were granted more than 42 million core hours on HLRS system Hornet for their project APAM (Aquatic Purification Assisted by Membranes). This research is aimed at investigating the boundary layer at ion separating membranes in the electro-dialysis desalination process.

Another large project assigned to GCS is headed up by Prof Peter Hauschildt of the Hamburg Observatory (University of Hamburg), to simulate images and spectra of stars and extrasolar planets with NLTE (non-local thermodynamic equilibrium) radiation transport calculations using their general purpose model atmosphere code PHOENIX/3D. The Hamburg based team was granted 28.8 million core hours of computing time, also on Hornet.

The largest allocation of compute time designated to SuperMUC was for the project “CLIMATE SPHINX” (CLIMATE Stochastic Physics HIgh resolutioN eXperiments). This project is being led by principal investigator Professor Dr Jost von Hardenberg of the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (ISAC) at the National Research Council (CNR) in Bologna, Italy. The project was awarded 20.1 million core hours of computing time on the LRZ supercomputer.

The remaining 11 research projects allowed access to the German HPC resources are under leadership of scientists from the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain with two projects each and from France, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Australia (in collaboration with a UK-based research institute). The supported research topics cover areas such as Engineering, Biochemistry, Life Sciences, Chemical Sciences and Materials.

In a separate development, Nobel Prize winning physicist Professor Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology singled out the work of GCS in further the development of fundamental physics research. The research was carried out by a research team of the Bergische Universität Wuppertal under leadership of Professor Zoltán Fodor resulted in finally calculating the small neutron-proton mass difference.

The project called ‘Lattice QCD Investigations of Nuclear and Hadronic Properties’ carried out by Fodor and his team is considered a milestone by many physicists as they validate the theory of quantum chromodynamics describing the strong interaction in the standard model.

Professor Wilczek stated: ‘The difference in mass between proton and neutron is one of the most fundamental quantities in nuclear physics, and its calculation is cause for celebration.’

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