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Press Release: New supercomputer coming to KTH!

Dardel HPE Cray XE supercomputer available for research from July

Published Feb 26, 2021

The KTH Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) has just signed a contract with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) for a new supercomputer. The system will be an HPE Cray EX supercomputer featuring AMD EPYC™ processors and AMD Instinct™ GPU accelerators. It will be housed in the PDC Center for High Performance Computing (PDC) at the KTH main campus in Stockholm. Most of the funding for the new supercomputer system is being provided by the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC), which is investing around 100 million SEK, as well as paying the cost of operating the new system for at least the next five years.

The new HPE Cray EX supercomputer at PDC will be based on an advanced high-performance computing (HPC) architecture, known as AMD Infinity Architecture, which is designed for next-generation supercomputing. In fact, the EuroHPC LUMI pre-exascale system (which is currently being installed in Finland) has the same kind of architecture. The new supercomputer at PDC will replace Beskow, which is SNIC’s current flagship system, and will feature a compute performance of 13.5 petaflops after the installation is completed. This increase in computational capacity (as compared to Beskow) will provide a magnificent boost to computational science and engineering research in Sweden. As Mikael Östling, Deputy President of KTH, said “KTH is proud to host this new SNIC supercomputer to assist Swedish researchers as KTH is strongly committed to supporting computational researchers both from academia and industry.

Dardel HPE Cray XE system: Click on image for high resolution version.

The new supercomputer at PDC - which will be named “Dardel” in honour of the Swedish author Thora Dardel  and her first husband, the painter Nils Dardel  - has been designed to facilitate various types of research based on HPC techniques across a broad spectrum of research areas. The Dardel system will have a large CPU partition, which will be suitable for a wide range of computational applications, plus a forward-looking partition based on graphics processing units (GPUs), which is intended for the most computationally demanding applications. PDC is working closely with the developers of leading HPC research applications in grand challenge areas - like computational fluid dynamics, biophysics and quantum chemistry - to ensure that their applications are adapted to take full advantage of the increased computing power of the new system. “In recent times, we have seen a dramatic increase in the extent to which researchers need to use accelerators (mainly in the form of GPUs). We will soon be able to meet that demand through the accelerator partition in Dardel," says Prof. Hans Karlsson, Director of SNIC. "Dardel will significantly increase the Swedish capacity for research that requires access to large-scale computational resources."

The Dardel supercomputer will be installed in two phases. HPE will deliver the first phase of the system, consisting of the CPU partition and a storage system, before summer this year. This initial phase of the computer will provide SNIC users with more than 65,000 CPU cores for performing their research calculations. (Cores are individual processing units contained within a single CPU.) The second phase of Dardel, which consists of a GPU partition, will be delivered later this year in the autumn. Researchers will be able to start using the first phase of Dardel from July this year and the second phase from January next year.

The new Dardel supercomputer at PDC will embody a big leap in technology thanks to using next-generation AMD EPYC™ processors in the CPU partition and, in the second phase, the system will leverage next-generation AMD Instinct™ GPU accelerators and the ROCm open software platform as well as the HPE Cray Programming Environment. One of the keys to improving the performance of supercomputers is to increase the speed at which information is communicated between the parts within the system. The AMD Infinity Architecture that is being used in Dardel widens the horizons of supercomputer performance as it enables more efficient communication between the system’s memory, CPUs and GPUs. In particular, a high-performance interconnect using HPE Slingshot (which is designed to provide ultra-fast communication in the era of exascale computers) will be used in the Dardel system to provide highly efficient communication between different elements in the system.

“High-performance computing (HPC) technologies are broadly used in R&D to advance the technologies that go into the products and services we use each day. For decades, the PDC Center for High Performance Computing at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology has empowered a community of researchers to make breakthroughs across a range of industries using HPC,” said Peter Ungaro, Senior Vice President and General Manager of HPC and Mission Critical Solutions at HPE. “We are honoured to have been selected by the KTH Royal Institute of Technology to deliver the latest HPE Cray EX supercomputer with next-generation AMD technologies and provide an even greater level of performance to improve and expand Swedish academic research and drive innovation for Swedish industrial companies.”

We are thrilled to be working with HPE and KTH on this advanced supercomputer project," said Roger Benson, Senior Director, Commercial EMEA at AMD. "The combination of cutting-edge AMD EPYC processors and AMD Instinct accelerators will enable scientists and research institutions to meet and exceed the growing computational demands of today's HPC workloads while advancing their research.

Business and industry researchers who are interested in using Dardel should contact PDC directly ( ). Academic researchers who are looking forward to using Dardel will be able to apply through the SNIC User and Project Repository (SUPR) website: . Applications for large research allocations on Dardel to start in July can be made via the SNIC Large Spring 2021 call, which opens on Monday the 1st of March at 15:00 CET (see ). Dardel will also be listed in the SNIC Small and Medium calls for 2021 from July onwards. (For more information about SNIC and applying to use SNIC’s resourcess, see .) Researchers should also note that the LUMI system is being realised by the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking and a consortium of countries, including Sweden, so Swedish researchers may apply to use LUMI through SNIC. For more information, see:  or .

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