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  • Alfons-Goppel-Straße 11
  • 80539 München
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  • Ellen Latzin
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SuperMUC: Leading new Energy Efficiency Measurements

13th edition of Green500 list introduces new measurement quality levels

(lifePR) (München, ) Energy efficiency of supercomputers has become a major challenge over the past years. For over 6 years, the Green500 ranks the world's fastest supercomputers by their energy efficiency. "Measuring energy efficiency means measuring supercomputer performance and power consumption at the same time. While the benchmarks for measuring performance are well established and performance results in FLOPs (Floating Point Operations Per Second) are easy to compare among different machines, the methodology for measuring power consumption was missing a commonly accepted standard in recent years", comments Prof. Arndt Bode, managing director of the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. "However, we are proud that using our new power measurement capabilities for SuperMUC, we are one of only three supercomputing centres worldwide that can fulfil the highest standard (Green500 Level 3) for measuring supercomputer power consumption at this time." In addition to LRZ's SuperMUC, which is currently ranked no. 9 on the Top500 list, only "Riptide", a system of the Maui High-Performance Computing Center, and "Colosse", a system of Calcul Canada (Université de Sherbrooke), Quebec, were providing their system power consumption at the highest possible measurement accuracy defined as Level 3 by the Energy Efficient HPC Working Group (EEHPC-WG). With the latest release of the new Green500 list, submitters could for the first time include additional details about their measurements to be ranked according the new EEHPC-WG measurement guidelines.

Based on selected quality aspects of the measurement, such as the fraction of the machine that was instrumented, granularity, timespan, and the number of included machine subsystems, a submission was rated conforming to one of three increasingly rigorous measurement quality levels. Level 1 is similar to the Green500 run rules today. Level 2 is more comprehensive and still widely achievable. Level 3 represents the "current best" in supercomputing power measurement methodology.

"Power consumption of HPC systems and subsequently facilities cost are increasing", says Natalie Bates, head of the Energy Efficient HPC Working Group that was responsible for designing the new measurement guidelines and the definition of the requirements for levels 1-3. "You can only improve what you can measure", Bates continues, "and the ability to measure power and energy will accelerate improvements in energy efficiency in supercomputing. The measurement methodology was developed as a collaborative effort between different research and industry groups." The new methodology was tested by a small group of early adopters for the June and November 2012 Green500 list releases and subsequently refined given the feedback from the early adopters.

Arndt Bode concludes: "In order to maximize the energy efficiency of the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre, a detailed understanding of the power consumption of all technical equipment needed to operate our supercomputer is required. Hence, measuring the system power consumption using high quality power measurements is only the first step of LRZ's effort in tuning our HPC infrastructure for maximum energy efficiency."


Green500 List:
Energy Efficient HPC Working Group:
Leibniz Supercomputing Centre:

The Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences is the general IT service provider to the scientific and academic communities in the Munich area. LRZ operates the Munich Scientific Network (MWN), offers archiving and backup of large amounts of data and delivers high performance and supercomputing facilities for all German universities and PRACE partners via the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS).

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