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North-German Supercomputing Alliance (HLRN) awards $39 million supercomputer contract

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The North-German Supercomputing Alliance (HLRN) has awarded a $39 million contract to Cray for the delivery of a distributed XC30 supercomputing system, which will be operated at two sites – the Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB) and the High Performance Computing Center (RRZN) at Leibniz University in Hannover, Germany.

HLRN is an alliance among seven states in Northern Germany – Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, and Schleswig-Holstein – that have combined resources and secured funding from the state governments and the German federal government to acquire the new Cray XC30 systems.

The HLRN sites in Berlin and Hannover plan to operate the Cray XC30 supercomputers as one combined system, providing universities and research centres in the northern states of Germany with a powerful petascale computing resource. Named ‘HLRN-III’, the Cray XC30 supercomputing system will support advanced scientific research in a wide range of fields, including environmental research, climate and ocean modelling, physics, chemistry, bio-informatics, engineering, and fluid dynamics.

Previously code-named ‘Cascade’, the Cray XC30 supercomputer is Cray's most advanced high-performance computing (HPC) system. It features the new HPC-optimised Aries system interconnect; a new Dragonfly topology that frees applications from locality constraints; a cooling system that utilises a transverse airflow to lower customers' total cost of ownership; the next-generation of the scalable, high performance Cray Linux Environment that also supports a wide range of ISV applications; Cray's HPC-optimised programming environment; and the ability to handle a wide variety of processor types including the Intel Xeon processors.

Consisting of products and services, the multi-year, multi-phase contract is valued at more than $39 million, and a vast majority of the system is expected to be delivered and put into production in 2013. As part of this contract, the HLRN-III system will also include a Cray storage solution, which will incorporate products from DDN and Hitachi Data Systems.