The new system will significantly boost research capabilities in meteorology and climate modelling, engineering, nano technology, aeronautics, genomic research, real-time vision, bioinformatics, water desalination, and industry-specific numerical simulations in the Kingdom. Through the Center of Excellence, KAU will study possible impacts on the society in the Kingdom such as climate change and also work in collaboration with world wide scientific communities, regional universities, government departments and commercial organisations on research projects that can benefit from the computer's capacity.
Building on over 30 years of experience in high performance computing (HPC) development, the integrated and certified cluster-type supercomputer consists of Fujitsu PRIMERGY servers and storage systems that include models from the FUJITSU Storage ETERNUS series. The result is a system that has the necessary reliability to deliver excellent performance of scientific and engineering applications.
Fujitsu will also provide on-site maintenance and training to help implement and operate the project in close collaboration with KAU.
Whilst the Department of Meteorology, Environment and Arid Land Agriculture commissioned the project, the faculty of Computer and Information Technology and Genomic Research Center provided individual specifications to help Fujitsu deliver a bespoke system that is a one-stop solution for a wide variety of research endeavours.
KAU, which is the largest university in Saudi Arabia, can now offer high-end computational modelling and simulation capabilities beyond academia and for the commercial and manufacturing industries in the Kingdom.
In its first efforts to put this system to practical use, KAU is initiating research to create meteorological models of particular interest to Saudi Arabia, such as for sand storms, and to develop technology for the desalination of seawater.
The new system is fully operated and maintained by Fujitsu on-site professionals. The on-site team has HPC engineers and code optimizers, in addition to PhD holders in the field of HPC, and has an ambitious plan to build capacities and disseminate HPC knowledge to KAU researchers. Fujitsu also provides scientific assistance and collaboration that was recognized by the first scientific publication of results about solving spectrum assignment problems in elastic optical networks. Moreover, significant enhancement in the execution time of different applications such as Genomic Analysis Toolkit, WRF, COSMO, OpenFOAM, and many other has started to play an important role in promoting scientific research at KAU.
Fujitsu assigns dedicated personnel specialized in climate change research and code optimization to support the Center of Excellence for Climate Change Research of KAU so that it will utilize the full potential of this state-of-the-art system as it performs weather and climate research.
The system has been called Aziz and was officially switched on by His Royal Highness Prince Mishaal bin Majed bin Abdul Aziz, alongside Akira Kabemoto, Head of Service Platform Business, Fujitsu Limited, at a ceremony attended by over 250 researchers, academics, and students.
Prof. Abdulfattah Mashat, VP of Development, King Abdulaziz University, stated: "As the largest university in Saudi Arabia, we deliver a global standard in research resources that supports the public and private sector in the Kingdom. We also focus on developing our ICT solutions that allows over 160,000 students to flourish at KAU. As a consequence, our investment in Fujitsu's HPC technology helped KAU deliver upon its responsibilities by providing a reliable solution for students, academics and researches, who can leverage our new Center of Excellence and the technical support it will provide."
Akira Kabemoto, Head of Service Platform Business, Fujitsu Limited, stated: "The demand for HPC technology is increasing and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and KAU understand the value it will add for industries such as aerospace, meteorology, health care, energy, environment and education and for the development of smart cities. As a consequence, we worked in close collaboration with KAU to develop a solution that can deliver the necessary capacity to perform the most sophisticated, computer-intensive simulations/modeling for the country."
The system has a theoretical peak performance of 230 teraflops. The large-scale HPC cluster consists of 496 PRIMERGY CX250 and four PRIMERGY CX270 x86 servers, and has the following components: