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NVIDIA-powered Supercomputer Sets New Record for Data Center Efficiency
By Jeremy Cheong - on 4 Feb 2013, 10:58am

NVIDIA-powered Supercomputer Sets New Record for Data Center Efficiency

Built by Eurotech and deployed January 30 at the Cineca facility in Bologna, Italy, the country's most powerful supercomputing center, the Eurora supercomputer has set an all-new record for data center energy efficiency as it reached 3,150 megaflops per watt of sustained performance – a mark 26 percent higher than the top system on the most recent Green500 list of the world's most efficient supercomputers.

The Eurora achieved this record-breaking achievement by combining 128 high-performance, energy-efficient NVIDIA Tesla K20 accelerators with the Eurotech Aurora Tigon supercomputer, featuring an innovative Aurora Hot Water Cooling technology, which uses direct hot water cooling on all electronic and electrical components of High Performance Computing (HPC) system.

“Advanced computer simulations that enable scientists to discover new phenomena and test hypotheses require massive amounts of performance, which can consume a lot of power,” said Sanzio Bassini, director of HPC department at Cineca. “Equipped with the ultra-efficient Aurora system and NVIDIA GPU accelerators, Eurora will give European researchers the computing muscle to study all types of physical and biological systems, while allowing us to keep data center power consumption and costs in check.”

The combination of the NVIDIA Tesla K20 GPUs with Eurotech's Aurora Hot Water Cooling technology allows the system to be more efficient and compact compared to systems using conventional air-cooled solutions. HPC systems based on the Eurora hardware architecture, which include the Eurotech Aurora Tigon, enables data centers to potentially reduce energy bills by up to 50 percent and reduce total cost of ownership by 30 to 50 percent.

Furthermore, the Aurora Hot Water Cooling technology reduces or totally eliminates the need for air conditioning in typically warm climates like Italy. The thermal energy the system produces can alternatively be used to heat buildings, drive adsorption chillers for air conditioning or generate tri-generation, the combined production of electricity, heating and cooling.

“GPU accelerators are inherently more energy efficient than CPUs, and Tesla K20 accelerators widen this gap considerably,” said Sumit Gupta, general manger of the Tesla accelerated computing business at NVIDIA. “Energy efficiency has become the defining element of computing performance. And GPUs enable data center computer systems of all sizes – from small clusters to future exascale-class systems – to achieve performance goals within an economically feasible energy budget.”

The Eurora is a prototype system developed for Cineca under the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) 2IP initiative to provide a sustainable, high-quality infrastructure to meet the most demanding needs of the European HPC user community. Eurora will enable scientists to advance research and discovery across a range of scientific disciplines, including material science, astrophysics, life sciences, and Earth sciences.

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