Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2016-09-26

Focus

OpenPOWER and IBM at the verge of the era of cognitive computing ...

Exascale supercomputing

Supercomputers receive funding to help predict and modify new materials ...

Focus on Europe

Calling on experts to propose tutorials and workshops for ISC 2017 ...

Adept project concludes with open-source release of energy measurement tools ...

Specific Grant Agreement One signed by the European Commission and the Human Brain Project ...

University of Amsterdam coordinates cognition research in Human Brain Project ...

New EU publication on Science, research and innovation performance of the European Union ...

Middleware

Quantum names Molly Rector Vice President of Marketing ...

IBM Research and MIT collaborate to advance frontiers of artificial intelligence in real-world audio-visual comprehension technologies ...

Hardware

UC San Diego Extension and San Diego Supercomputer Center launch Modern Data Science Academy ...

TSMC and Synopsys collaboration delivers innovative technologies for the High Performance Compute (HPC) Platform ...

Cadence and TSMC advance 7nm FinFET designs for mobile and HPC platforms ...

Volkswagen innovates manufacturing with move to Verne Global ...

Kinetica unveils GPU-accelerated database for analyzing streaming data with enhanced performance, visualization and high availability ...

CORNAMI announces $3 million funding led by Impact Venture Capital ...

Mellanox Technologies appoints Alinka Flaminia as Senior Vice President and General Counsel ...

DataCore and Supermicro offer ultra-high performance enterprise class Hyper-converged solutions ...

TYAN HPC platforms add support for NVIDIA Tesla P100, P40 and P4 GPUs ...

CENATE adds powerful testbed from NVIDIA ...

Reconfigurable chaos-based microchips offer possible solution to Moore's law ...

New Hikari supercomputer starts solar HVDC ...

India's North East region's fastest supercomputer launched by honourable Union Minister for HRD at IIT Guwahati ...

DDN leverages Lustre leadership to deliver new scalability and management capabilities and open source contributions ...

Applications

Termination of lethal arrhythmia with light ...

Artificial intelligence reveals mechanism behind brain tumour ...

Tracking down the origin of mercury contamination in human hair ...

Next generation of statistical tools to be developed for the Big Data age ...

British Artificial Intelligence firm first in Europe to use advanced deep learning supercomputer ...

Denver International Airport selects Panasonic Weather Solutions for ground operations weather forecasting ...

Ansys and TSMC empower chip manufacturers to design cutting-edge multi-die chip-package systems ...

New study shows nickel graphene can be tuned for optimal fracture strength ...

Meet Rutgers' RADICAL supercomputing guru ...

NASA Career Award winner uses Blue Waters supercomputer to mine crop yield data ...

Southeast students and faculty optimize knowledge at Supercomputing Symposium ...

The Cloud

Oracle unveils its next generation Cloud strategy: Intelligent Applications ...

Oracle announces the industry's most comprehensive offering for analytics in the Cloud ...

IBM Power Systems and Red Hat extend collaboration for next-generation Cloud platforms ...

Trifacta v4 extends enterprise data wrangling to any user, any data, any Cloud ...

Salesforce introduces Salesforce Einstein - artificial intelligence for everyone ...

New Hikari supercomputer starts solar HVDC


The Hikari supercomputer is the first in the U.S. to be powered by a solar HVDC system.
14 Sep 2016 Austin - The roar can be deafening. Cooling fans and power supplies whoosh and whine from rows and rows of supercomputers at the main data centre of the Texas Advanced Computing Center in Austin. The power bill at TACC can reach over a million dollars a year to keep the machines humming. But there's a stranger in town that might change how data centres power their systems.

A new kind of advanced computing system called Hikari - Japanese for the word "light" - came online at TACC late August, 2016. What's new is that Hikari runs on solar power and high voltage direct current, or HVDC.

Hikari is a microgrid that supports a supercomputer, a first for the U.S. By day solar panels that shade a TACC parking lot provide nearly all of Hikari's power, up to 208 kilowatts. At night it switches back to conventional AC power from the utility grid.

"The Hikari project is a Japan and Texas collaboration project, and it aims to demonstrate the potential of the HVDC system", stated Toshihiro Hayashi, assistant manager in the engineering divisions of NTT Facilities Inc., Japan.

Engineers of the Hikari HVDC power feeding system predict it will save 15 percent compared to conventional systems. "The 380 volt design reduces the number of power conversions when compared to AC voltage systems", stated James Stark, director of Engineering and Construction at the Electronic Environments Corporation (EEC), a Division of NTT Facilities Inc.

"What's interesting about that", James Stark added, "is the computers themselves - the supercomputer, the blade servers, cooling units, and lighting - are really all designed to run on DC voltage. By supplying 380 volts DC to Hikari instead of having an AC supply with conversion steps, it just makes a lot more sense. That's really the largest technical innovation."

Data centres in the U.S. consumed an estimated 70 billion kilowatt hours in 2014, which represents about 1.8 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption. That's according to a June 2016 Department of Energy report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

High Voltage Direct Current also allows for ease in connection to renewable energy, solar for Hikari but potentially other sources like wind and hydrogen fuel cells. "That's really one of our main focuses, trying to make data centres more sustainable so that we're reducing overall power consumption within an industry that has traditionally consumed a lot of power", James Stark stated.

With sustainability comes reliability. This held true for another NTT Facilities Inc. project called the Sendai Microgrid on the fateful day of the Tohoku earthquake, March 11, 2011. The Sendai Microgrid was equipped with gas engines, a fuel cell, and a photovoltaic array. It continued to supply power and heat to facilities at Tohoku Fukushi University for hospital patients and elderly nursing home residents despite days of blackouts from the catastrophic damage to the district's energy supply system caused by the earthquake.

"This microgrid power supply system activated very well after the earthquake", Toshihiro Hayashi stated. "It showed that it's a very highly reliable energy system."

Another NTT Facilities project leading to Hikari is the Tsukuba Research and Development Center, a HVDC microgrid that generates 70 kilowatts for a modular data centre. "We have various experiences in Japan of having this HVDC system", Toshihiro Hayashi stated.

These projects, including Hikari, are supported by NEDO, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, a public agency of Japan. The Hikari project partners are NEDO, NTT Facilities Inc., and the University of Texas at Austin through the Texas Advanced Computing Center.

The collaboration started with a visit to TACC by engineers at NTT Facilities Inc. in early 2014, fresh off the heels of basic studies they'd done for installing HVDC at U.S. sites. TACC also shares a strong interest in developing new technologies, including energy savings.

"We're very interested in UT Austin's motto", stated Toshihiro Hayashi, "which is 'what starts here changes the world'. We very much agree with this motto."

Toshihiro Hayashi's team worked with TACC to develop feasibility studies of the Hikari HVDC project from December 2014 to May 2015. This effort led to a Memorandum of Understanding between the State of Texas and NEDO in August of 2015.

NTT Facilities Inc. worked with EEC to build out Hikari, which completed the system installation late August 2016. "If there wasn't such partnership, we wouldn't have launched this project. I would like to express my gratitude to NEDO for establishing the partnership", Toshihiro Hayashi stated.

The Hikari supercomputer cluster consists of 432 Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Apollo 8000 XL730f servers coupled with HPE DL380 and DL360 nodes that are interconnected with a first-of-its-kind Mellanox End-to-End EDR InfinBand at 100 gigabytes per second. Over 10,000 cores from "Haswell" Xeon processors will deliver more than 400 teraflops.

The Hikari project also aims to demonstrate energy efficiency through more than just HVDC. The HPE Apollo 8000 systems use a warm water-based liquid cooling system that eliminates the need for fans within the nodes and reduces the energy that would normally be required for water refrigeration and excess heat removal. The solar energy that would have been used for powering fans and chillers can be used for computational work.

When it reaches production later in 2017, Hikari will be used by the University of Texas medical researchers to make progress on diseases like cancer and disorders like autism.

"We really hope this project will demonstrate the efficiency advantages of using 380 volt DC, not only in data centres, but in any commercial building", James Stark stated. "The hope is that the research that comes out of this demonstration project will help to open the door to more widespread use of 380 volt systems throughout data centres and commercial buildings worldwide."
Source: University of Texas at Austin - Texas Advanced Computing Center - TACC

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2016-09-26

Focus

OpenPOWER and IBM at the verge of the era of cognitive computing ...

Exascale supercomputing

Supercomputers receive funding to help predict and modify new materials ...

Focus on Europe

Calling on experts to propose tutorials and workshops for ISC 2017 ...

Adept project concludes with open-source release of energy measurement tools ...

Specific Grant Agreement One signed by the European Commission and the Human Brain Project ...

University of Amsterdam coordinates cognition research in Human Brain Project ...

New EU publication on Science, research and innovation performance of the European Union ...

Middleware

Quantum names Molly Rector Vice President of Marketing ...

IBM Research and MIT collaborate to advance frontiers of artificial intelligence in real-world audio-visual comprehension technologies ...

Hardware

UC San Diego Extension and San Diego Supercomputer Center launch Modern Data Science Academy ...

TSMC and Synopsys collaboration delivers innovative technologies for the High Performance Compute (HPC) Platform ...

Cadence and TSMC advance 7nm FinFET designs for mobile and HPC platforms ...

Volkswagen innovates manufacturing with move to Verne Global ...

Kinetica unveils GPU-accelerated database for analyzing streaming data with enhanced performance, visualization and high availability ...

CORNAMI announces $3 million funding led by Impact Venture Capital ...

Mellanox Technologies appoints Alinka Flaminia as Senior Vice President and General Counsel ...

DataCore and Supermicro offer ultra-high performance enterprise class Hyper-converged solutions ...

TYAN HPC platforms add support for NVIDIA Tesla P100, P40 and P4 GPUs ...

CENATE adds powerful testbed from NVIDIA ...

Reconfigurable chaos-based microchips offer possible solution to Moore's law ...

New Hikari supercomputer starts solar HVDC ...

India's North East region's fastest supercomputer launched by honourable Union Minister for HRD at IIT Guwahati ...

DDN leverages Lustre leadership to deliver new scalability and management capabilities and open source contributions ...

Applications

Termination of lethal arrhythmia with light ...

Artificial intelligence reveals mechanism behind brain tumour ...

Tracking down the origin of mercury contamination in human hair ...

Next generation of statistical tools to be developed for the Big Data age ...

British Artificial Intelligence firm first in Europe to use advanced deep learning supercomputer ...

Denver International Airport selects Panasonic Weather Solutions for ground operations weather forecasting ...

Ansys and TSMC empower chip manufacturers to design cutting-edge multi-die chip-package systems ...

New study shows nickel graphene can be tuned for optimal fracture strength ...

Meet Rutgers' RADICAL supercomputing guru ...

NASA Career Award winner uses Blue Waters supercomputer to mine crop yield data ...

Southeast students and faculty optimize knowledge at Supercomputing Symposium ...

The Cloud

Oracle unveils its next generation Cloud strategy: Intelligent Applications ...

Oracle announces the industry's most comprehensive offering for analytics in the Cloud ...

IBM Power Systems and Red Hat extend collaboration for next-generation Cloud platforms ...

Trifacta v4 extends enterprise data wrangling to any user, any data, any Cloud ...

Salesforce introduces Salesforce Einstein - artificial intelligence for everyone ...