The inauguration ceremony was followed by a colloquium. The colloquium comprised a number of talks that addressed the specific details of the innovative data centre building design and covered the challenges in high performance computing from a computer science standpoint as well as from the perspective of the users' research.
The funding for the building and the new supercomputer was approved in 2011. Since then, both the building and the computing system have been designed according to the requirements of the Saxon scientists as well as state of the art research and technological developments. The Federal Government and the Free State of Saxony carry out the costs of this investment in equal share.
In their ceremonial speeches, Prof. Hans Müller-Steinhagen, Rector of TU Dresden, and Prof. Wolfgang E. Nagel, Director of the Center for Information Services and High Performance Computing (ZIH) of the TU Dresden, agreed that sustainable research at a modern university relies on a powerful, highly available, and secure IT infrastructure. Prof. Müller-Steinhagen explained: The new data centre and the new high performance computer represent a unique infrastructure that will strengthen and sustain science and scientific research. This strategic investment promotes innovative research and represents a fundamental building block for growth and development."
The new data centre of the Lehmann Center (LZR) of the TU Dresden combines security and high availability with high power density and long term flexible usability. It is characterized by energy efficiency and, thus, cost efficiency. The hot water cooling of the High Performance Computing and Storage Complex II (HRSK-II) saves more than 250,000 euros of annual operating costs only by the elimination of electrical cooling systems. Additional savings derive from the reuse of computer-dissipated heat in the surrounding buildings. The cooling concept was awarded in 2014 the "German Computing Center Prize" in the category Energy and Resource Efficient Computing Center".
The new supercomputer comprises more than 43,000 CPU cores and achieves a peak performance of 1.5 quadrillion floating point operations per second, superseding all computing systems previously installed at ZIH. The requirements of the targeted scientific problems exceed the performance of the HRSK-I computing systems installed at ZIH in 2005-2006 by far. The development of new performance classes for efficient processing of scientific applications is essential for enabling future excellent research at competitive levels.
In particular, such research includes tackling increasingly fine and detailed resolutions, longer simulation periods, the simultaneous consideration of different physical scales, and, consequently, much larger amounts of data, all on highly parallel computing and storage systems. These large amounts of data can be stored on shared data storage systems consisting of approximately 2,000 high capacity hard disk drives. In parallel, a network of fast solid-state drives (SSDs) for specialized tasks is also available.
"With its architecture specifically tailored for data-intensive computing and the far-reaching possibilities for energy measurement and performance monitoring, the HRSK-II provides ideal conditions to achieve ambitious research goals during the scheduled operating time. At the same time, the HRSK-II system provides a first infrastructural base for the service tasks of the national Big Data Competence Centre ScaDS Dresden/Leipzig", stated Prof. Nagel.