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Intel selects CSC to be an Intel Parallel Computing Center

Intel has selected the CSC, the IT Center for Science in Finland, as one of its Intel Parallel Computing Centers.

CSC will collaborate with Intel to develop parallel algorithms and optimise open-source high-performance computing (HPC) applications for Intel’s latest parallel processor architectures.

The work will be conducted by CSC in collaboration with the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Atmospheric Science and Bull’s Center for Excellence in Parallel Programming (IPCC).

‘We are now coupling models of processes in the atmosphere and biosphere at all scales in time and space and with different physics, chemistry, meteorology, and biology to better understand the Earth’s climate. This results in extreme demands on computing capacity and optimal use of the latest computing technologies is critical for our success,’ said Professor Markku Kulmala, research leader of the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Atmospheric Science.

In addition to atmospheric research, CSC will work with a set of open-source applications codes from environmental and materials sciences. The selected applications are widely used both in national and international level, and the optimisation work will benefit large group of researchers.

The initial list of applications to be optimised for large-scale simulations is:

  • Atmospheric sciences: ECHAM6 plus a number of atmospheric models from Helsinki University;
  • Multi-physics and Glaciology: Elmer and Elmer/Ice;
  • Materials and nanoscience: GPAW.

Parallelisation and optimisation of the codes will be carried out by the CSC HPC team using an energy-efficient liquid-cooled Bull B715 supercomputer prototype and CSC’s other supercomputer resources. The optimisations will target both the latest generations of Intel Xeon processors as well as Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors. This modernisation of key applications is expected to enable large performance increases, and could help to make the next leap in discovery.

‘Validating current approximations and obtaining new and more detailed insight into the mechanisms of atmospheric new-particle formation is computationally very demanding – this can be only achieved by very efficient parallelisation,' said Ville Loukonen, a researcher in Professor Hanna Vehkamäki’s computational aerosol physics group at the University of Helsinki.

Training researchers and engineers in modernising their code is also necessary. CSC will carry out comprehensive training to improve the HPC programming and optimisation skills of the research groups.

‘The grant from Intel opens a fantastic opportunity for us to focus effort on optimisation and parallelisation of codes that are key to the users of CSC’s present and future supercomputer systems,’ said Per Öster, Director of Research Infrastructures and leader of the project.

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