The Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS)
Germany's leading position in the field of computational science and engineering has been reinforced substantially: The three German national supercomputing centres at Jülich, Garching and Stuttgart joined forces and gave birth to the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing. The alliance of the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC), the Leibniz-Rechenzentrum (LRZ), and the Höchstleistungsrechenzentrum Stuttgart (HLRS) provides one of the largest and most powerful supercomputer infrastructures in Europe.
The Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS) is an alliance of the three national supercomputing centres into a virtual organisation enabled by an agreement between the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the state ministries for research of Baden-Württemberg, Bayern, and Nordrhein-Westfalen from July 2006.
BMBF press release of July 13th, 2006 (in German)
The GCS will give Germany best prospects to adopt a leading role in the future European high-performance computing ecosystem: Within the forthcoming Seventh Framework Programme the European Commission plans to support the building of a Europe-wide supercomputer infrastructure in the Petaflop performance range. In the future, the cooperation of the national supercomputing systems in Europe will be planned, realised and adapted to a larger structure by a concerted action of the European countries involved in supercomputing. Achim Bachem, the new Chairman of Forschungszentrum Jülich, was appointed to represent the GCS in European bodies.
The BMBF announced to support the development of highest-speed data communication between the centres by 30 Million Euros, in order to promote the scientific co-operation between the three centres and in particular between their user communities in the area of high-performance computing.
The GCS offers a state-of-the-art high-performance computing and networking infrastructure. The LRZ recently expanded its SGI Altix 4700 system to 62.3 TeraFlop/s, the HLRS offers a 12 TeraFlop/s NEC SX/8, and the JSC can provide a 223 TeraFlop/s IBM Blue Gene/P as well as a 8.4 TeraFlop/s IBM p6 575 Cluster. The architectures of these machines are different yet complementary. Each one favours special types of applications. The Altix can offer a huge shared memory, the SX8 is highly efficient for vectorised codes, the Blue Gene boosts applications which scale to extreme processor numbers, and the p6 575 Cluster provides large-memory SMP nodes.
With strong support of the BMBF and involvement of German industry, the high-speed communication lines between the centres - for instance the 10 Gbit/s DEISA dedicated network - will be enhanced to 40 Gbit/s, later striving for 100 Gbit/s. Such a data throughput will enable completely new services and cooperative applications. Access to the resources is enabled by Grid technology, which - together with high-speed communication - will also facilitate distributed computing and data storage. Furthermore, the German universities and research laboratories and all other important computing and data centres, which have excellent communication links to the GCS through the well-established national research network (DFN), will highly benefit from the GCS acting as the major German scientific data centre and hub.
The mission of the GCS is the provision of world-class supercomputing power for computational science and engineering for Germany and Europe. Another major focus of the GCS is world-leading methodical user support, education, and dissemination of best practice in simulation science. To this end, HLRS, LRZ and JSC will synchronize and optimize their existing successful support structures within the GCS. The structures will be adapted to the specific requirements of various user communities like materials science, physics, climatology, computational biology, engineering, etc.
The GCS will be active for the further successful development of simulation methods and algorithmic and computational tools in the context of international computational science and engineering. Within the GCS, a long-term scientific programme will organize and support this process in cooperation with universities and research institutes. The GCS will help strengthening the links to European science and engineering communities.
With the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing, Germany has the unique opportunity to play a major role within the planned European Petaflop-supercomputer infrastructure, for the benefit of computational science and engineering in Europe and its applications in science and industry.