The main users of the new infrastructure will be the researchers at Finnish universities and universities of applied science. The researchers in sector research institutes will also have access for academic use. The purchase is a significant national investment and it ensures that the Finnish research community stays internationally competitive in the computational and data-intensive research.
The purchase is funded from the development programme for Data management and computing (DL2021), driven by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Through the programme Finland invests 33 million euro to data management and computing infrastructure and related services. Additionally, the Finnish government has decided to invest 4 million euro for improving the capabilities for artificial intelligence (AI) related computing.
"The solution chosen provides an efficient and balanced environment for data-intensive computing and it enables the competitivity of Finnish research for future years. The environment delivered by Atos will also be able to meet the challenges of artificial intelligence, which will further increase the importance of investment and societal impact", stated CSC's Managing Director Kimmo Koski.
"In addition to higher education institutions, the renewed infrastructure and the connected services will be available to researchers of government research institutes based on unified principles of use. This wider access will promote cooperation and improve competence-based growth", stated Director Erja Heikkinen from the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The initial delivery will consist of the first partition of the supercomputer and its tightly integrated fast storage. The solution is based on next-generation Intel Xeon processors, code named Cascade Lake, and HDR Infiniband interconnect. Simultaneously, a new data management environment, based on CEPH object storage technology with novel features for data management and sharing, will be commissioned. Additionally, there will be an AI partition and a fast disk system for the needs of AI research.
The first phase will be available for customers in the summer of 2019.
"CSC is excited to bring the latest processor and interconnect technologies to the benefit of Finnish research, combined with a rich data environment built on open source technologies", stated Sebastian von Alfthan, Project Manager for DL2021 procurement.
In the second phase, the computing capacity will be increased by extending the supercomputer with a new partition based on the BullSequana XH2000 and a tightly integrated storage. AMD's next-generation EPYC processors, codenamed Rome, were configured for this phase. The second phase will be available to researchers in spring 2020.
"We are delighted about this partnership with CSC and excited to play a key role in delivering supercomputer power to help advancing scientific research in Finland. CSC is the first customer of our new BullSequana XH2000, which was launched at SC'18, and which is to be equipped with AMD EPYC processors and HDR Infiniband", stated Harri Saikkonen, General Manager, Atos in the Nordics.
"Big Data, machine learning and artificial intelligence are driving major change in today's society and as the leading European High Performance Computing (HPC) provider in Europe we are committed to support the Finnish research community to stay internationally competitive", Harri Saikkonen continued.
The final configuration of the system will be published when the purchase contract is signed in December.