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New Compute Cluster for the Computational Center for Particle and Astrophysics of the Excellence Cluster Universe starts operation at LRZ

(lifePR) (München, ) The new computational cluster for the Computational Center for Particle and Astrophysics (C2PAP) of the Excellence Cluster Universe just started operation at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. It will support the astro- as well as the particle physicists of the eight Excellence Cluster partner institutions in the rapid and efficient generation of new scientific knowledge.

The computing and development needs in astro and particle physics have increased significantly in recent years and will continue to increase in the future. This is because theoretical predictions in the form of very complex simulations based on theoretical models are getting more and more important for the scientists: Particle physicists want to determine which theoretical models can be used to reproduce the particle reactions found in accelerator experiments at CERN and other laboratories. A recent highlight was the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. Likewise in astrophysics: Simulations of the formation and evolution of cosmological structures are reaching unprecedented precision. In addition, a number of current or planned major projects, such as the Dark Energy Survey (DES), the South Pole Telescope (SPT), the Planck mission, eRosita, Euclid and LOFAR will study the universe with an unprecedented accuracy. To meet these ever-growing needs, the Excellence Cluster Universe founded in the second round of the Excellence Initiative a Computational Center for Particle and Astrophysics (C2PAP).

In the framework of an agreement of the Excellence Cluster Universe and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the IT-company IBM recently delivered 128 Intel Sandy Bridge computing nodes and the hardware for a Mellanox FDR InfiniBand high-speed network. Hence, the C2PAP compute cluster has more than 2,000 processor cores, which are essentially dedicated, high-memory versions of those available on the supercomputer SuperMUC at LRZ. Operated and administered at LRZ, the C2PAP compute cluster started operation in July. Experimental data can now be processed, calibrated and analysed in combination with simulations to pursue new discoveries in cosmology and the evolution of cosmic structures.

The new compute cluster fits very well into the existing infrastructure at LRZ, providing ultimately a 60 GBit/s connection to the 10 Petabyte GPFS filesystem on SuperMUC. In addition, the new C2PAP cluster also has its own dedicated GPFS parallel file system with a capacity of about 300 Terabytes. The architecture of the C2PAP cluster is almost identical to that of SuperMUC. This simplifies the porting of codes to the SuperMUC petaflop system for very large simulations. For energy efficiency reasons, the C2PAP as well as the SuperMUC and other high-performance computers at the LRZ are cooled with water.

The particle physicists and astrophysicists of the Excellence Cluster Universe are supported by five C2PAP staff scientists, who have experience in the field of high-performance computing. One of the new C2PAP staff members will be at LRZ and will be integrated into the SuperMUC administration group, while the other four will be at the Excellence Cluster. They will work on current compu-ting trends and will help the scientists with the development of new algorithms and the deployment of new and existing codes onto the dedicated cluster, onto SuperMUC and onto other supercomputers.

The Excellence Cluster Universe was established at the Technische Universität München (TUM) in 2006 within the framework of the German Excellence Initia-tive. It has since become one of the world's largest and most active research cen-ters in the fields of nuclear and particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology. The research network includes physicists from TUM and LMU Munich, other part-ners are the Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP), Astrophysics (MPA), Extra-terrestrial Physics (MPE) and Plasma Physics (IPP), the European Southern Ob-servatory (ESO) and the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ).