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Scientific discovery via HPC

These descriptions of research projects carried out using PDC's supercomputing systems give an idea of the the variety of research areas that use high performance computing (HPC) and how that research benefits society. These examples are from a booklet that was published in February 2015 for the inauguration of the Beskow system.


Large-scale computational resources, commonly known as “supercomputers”, have become an indispensable tool for many scientific disciplines. The PDC Center for High Performance Computing at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has been providing these kinds of resources to Swedish academia and industry for twenty-five years with a constant drive to stay at the forefront of technology. PDC is a member of the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC), which coordinates the national supercomputing resources in Sweden, and of the Swedish e-Science Research Centre (SeRC). Through SNIC, PDC is also a member of the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE), which enables Swedish researchers to access the even larger European supercomputers.

Even though we are generally not aware of it, the impact of supercomputers on day-to-day life is tremendous! Supercomputers provide essential contributions to many of the challenges that our global society faces, such as helping in the quest for new and greener forms of energy, discovering new and better drugs and treatments for a whole gamut of problems from the purely physical through to neuropsychiatric disorders, developing new and more effective materials for the production of items such as electronic circuits and solar cells, as well as monitoring and understanding climate change. And these are just a few of the many areas where supercomputers are being used! (Did you know that yacht-building companies use supercomputers to design hulls for new boats nowadays?) Here we present an assortment of the research activities that are supported by SNIC’s and PDC’s supercomputing resources. Although this collection is far from being comprehensive, we hope it gives a good overview of the kind of research supported by PDC and its societal impact.

Erwin Laure
Director, PDC (2008-2020)

Note: The introduction above and the following articles are from a booklet that was published in February 2015 for the inauguration of Beskow. You may read the individual articles in the following sections or download the booklet (pdf 1.3 MB) . If you would like a printed copy of the booklet, please contact PDC Support .

Academic research projects using PDC's HPC systems

Improving wind farm design

Researchers from Uppsala University, KTH Mechanics and the Technical University of Denmark are studying and modelling the vortices created by the blades of wind turbines  in order to design wind farms that are more efficient and effective.

Modelling proteins and protein-drug interactions

KTH Theoretical Chemistry researchers set about saving lives by helping in the development of drugs for Parkinson's disease and other illnesses .

Clean power through fusion

Chalmers researchers are working to improve the design of tokamaks  - devices that can produce clean power through fusion.

Tracking climate change

Researchers from Stockholm University and the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute have been performing simulations of the Earth's climate  to help us make better long-term planning decisions about climate-related issues.

Paving the way to better health and medical care

The Biophysics group from KTH Theoretical Physics has been using the GROMACS code to perform simulations of membrane proteins  which may lead to more effective treatments for addiction disorders and safer anaesthetics.

Producing nanocircuits with graphene fluoride

KTH Theoretical Chemistry researchers, along with colleagues at the University of Technology and Science in China, have been developing a new method of producing nanoscale electronic circuits  that may allow us to produce even faster computers.

Greening the skies

Researchers at KTH Mechanics have been working towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions by improving aircraft designs .

Computational brain dynamics and function

Researchers from Stockholm University and KTH Computational Biology are collaborating with Swedish and European colleagues to produce better models of the human brain , which have many uses, such as early detection of brain-related illnesses.