What is the goal of computer technology

Munich, November 18, 2020. The Leibniz Computing Center (LRZ) is implementing the high-tech agenda of the Bavarian state government in its area with the new “Future Computing” program. The Institute of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences

  • builds a test environment for this with the latest available computer technology.
  • researches innovative processors and memories as well as systems for high-performance computing (HPC).
  • is continuing his pioneering work in the field of energy efficiency and developing solutions and tools for future technology.
  • prepares the introduction of future computer architectures into practical application.
  • Develops together with the computer science chairs of the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich (LMU) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) offers for the qualification of HPC youngsters, scientists and colleagues.

"We will be researching the latest computer systems and architectures, their energy requirements and working methods intensively," says Dieter Kranzlmüller, head of the LRZ. “The declared goal is to continue to support Bavarian science with globally competitive IT services and infrastructures.” Today, supercomputers are an irreplaceable tool in many areas of science and often play a key role in scientific breakthroughs.

Experiment environment for HPC specialists

The first building blocks of the new Future Computing experiment environment for supercomputing experts have meanwhile been put into operation at the LRZ. This means that AMD Rome systems and servers with Marvell ThunderX2 processors and graphics cards as accelerators are already available in Garching. A Cray CS500 system was also installed, which works with the same A64FX processors from Fujitsu as the world's fastest supercomputer Fugaku in Japan. The test environment called “Bavarian Energy, Architecture and Software Testbed” (BEAST for short) is to be continuously expanded. “BEAST serves to prepare for the next generation of supercomputers, the successors of SuperMUC-NG within the framework of the national Gauss Center for Supercomputing. With BEAST, we are investigating which computer architectures are best suited for parallelizing our users' applications and for larger systems, ”explains Laura Schulz, department for strategic development and partnerships at the LRZ. "This is an important basis for our planning of future high-performance computers."

Experiment, research, learn

The amount of research data that supercomputers are supposed to evaluate is growing rapidly. Simulations are getting bigger and more complex. Machine learning and artificial intelligence call for new chip designs and innovative computer architectures. Such technologies will control the work and storage capacities of future computer systems even more efficiently. Quantum technology will also support supercomputers in the future. That is why new ideas are required, but above all research into the benefits of new computer architectures and their services. BEAST is therefore to be expanded to include additional prototypes, which the LRZ is developing further together with Bavarian IT departments and manufacturers. "BEAST is not a conventional LRZ service, but a new path that we are treading," said Kranzlmüller. "Joint development and co-design of new technology pushes supercomputing even further and will ultimately pay off for science, and subsequently for society."

Future Computing and BEAST are also interesting for students: Access to the BEAST program is granted to selected LRZ partners from science. “Together with our partners, we are able to research and evaluate modern hardware and software for applications and workloads,” says Laura Schulz. "This gives us valuable feedback and understanding of what our users expect from future systems, while at the same time giving our partners a better insight into available and future technologies." The BEAST program is also used in the education and training of today's students and help future experts. With internships at the Munich universities, prospective computer scientists can familiarize themselves with these technologies and establish contacts with research and industry.