Researchers at the University of Regensburg in Germany are extending their exploration of the origins of the universe boosted by a new Fujitsu supercomputer, the PRIMEHPC FX700 underpinned by the new Arm-based Fujitsu A64FX processor. The university’s QPACE4 (QCD Parallel Computing Engine 4) project can now reach new insights, using a supercomputer based on technology developed by Fujitsu for the supercomputer Fugaku, recently ranked No. 1 in the TOP500 list of the world's supercomputers1.
The installation of QPACE4 makes the University of Regensburg the first user in Europe to use Fujitsu’s PRIMEHPC FX700 with A64FX processors (CPUs) - the latest in a long series of supercomputer first-to-market milestones achieved by Fujitsu2. These CPUs are compliant with Arm’s Armv8.2-A SVE, the newest instruction set architecture for high-performance servers, and are particularly energy efficient.
The Scientists of the University of Regensburg is leveraging the significant increase in compute capability for numerical simulations as part of its exploration of quantum chromodynamics (QCD). This work aims to understand fundamental particles better, including the inner structure of the proton, and ultimately to determine the state of the universe immediately after the Big Bang. The supercomputer will also be used by the University of Regensburg in the field of bioinformatics, with a focus on cancer research and immunology.
QPACE4 is the fourth supercomputer in the framework of SFB/TRR-55³, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). It utilizes the same processor as the supercomputer Fugaku, which was jointly developed by Fujitsu with the world-renowned RIKEN Center for Computational Science4 in Kobe, Japan.
As well as superior performance per Watt, the A64FX processor also incorporates Scalable Vector Extensions (SVEs). Developed for applications in high performance computing (HPC), this speeds up complex calculations by allowing the same mathematical operation to be carried out in parallel on large amounts of data. In addition, the processor is coupled to an extremely fast main memory (High Bandwidth Memory, or HBM2), which for most applications is just as important as pure computing power, delivering a highly balanced ratio of computing power, memory bandwidth and network bandwidth, and avoiding performance bottlenecks. A further important difference is that the Fujitsu system’s computing power is not based on graphics cards. This makes it much easier to program, especially in the case of massive parallelization, which is essential for so-called "Grand Challenge" applications5.
The deployment of a new supercomputer in Regensburg is the latest example of the University’s extremely strong partnership with Fujitsu, based on HPC and supercomputers in particular. In 2016 it took ownership, together with the University of Wuppertal, of the Fujitsu QPACE3 supercomputer – installed at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC) near Cologne.
Prof. Tilo Wettig, Ph.D., professor of physics at the University of Regensburg says: “Again Fujitsu has provided the University of Regensburg with the ultimate supercomputer to progress our work on fundamental physics and research into vital aspects of human health, such as cancer and immunology. This partnership has proven highly successful over many years. We applaud Fujitsu’s commitment to maximizing compute power and minimizing energy consumption, we have been particularly impressed with Fujitsu’s flexibility and responsiveness to us as a customer. The time taken to deliver, install, configure and deploy such advanced technology has been nothing short of outstanding.”
Rupert Lehner, Head of Central and Eastern Europe, Products Europe at Fujitsu, comments: “Fujitsu not only has a distinguished track record developing the world’s fastest supercomputers, we also really understand our HPC customers’ specific needs around performance, applications and service. Our partnership with the University of Regensburg exemplifies that approach and we are proud to be helping the research team there take another step forward using Fujitsu technology.”
1 Since 1993, the TOP500 has updated and published relative rankings of the performance of the world’s fastest supercomputers on a semi-annual basis. Performance results reported by vendors are validated by high-performance computer experts, computational scientists, manufacturers, and the wider Internet community. The Fugaku system ranked first in the June 2020 TOP500 list had a LINPACK performance of 415.53 PFLOPS (petaflops) with a computing efficiency ratio of 80.87%. It is the first time a Japanese supercomputer has taken first place in TOP500 since the K computer, also manufactured by Fujitsu, claimed No.1 position in 2011. Fugaku's performance is approximately 2.8 times that of the supercomputer ranked second in the current TOP500 list, with 148.6 PFLOPS. These rankings were announced on June 22, 2020 at the virtual event ISC (International Supercomputing Conference) High Performance 2020 Digital.
2 Fujitsu has more than 40 years of expertise in the field of supercomputing, having developed the first supercomputer in Japan in 1977. In 2006, Fujitsu entered a long-standing relationship with Japan's leading research institute RIKEN, which led to the development of the “K computer”. In 2011, the “K computer” - also designed by RIKEN and Fujitsu – topped the TOP500 list, with its computation speed of more than 10 PetaFLOPS. Underlining the continued pace of supercomputer development, Fugaku’s Linpack performance is approximately 40x that of “K computer”, and more than twice as fast as the Summit system which led the TOP500 in November last year.
3 SFB/TRR-55 "Hadron Physics from Lattice QCD" was established in July 2008 by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft at the Universities of Regensburg and Wuppertal. It is currently coordinated by Regensburg
4 RIKEN is Japan's largest comprehensive research institution renowned for high-quality research in a diverse range of scientific disciplines. Founded in 1917 as a private research foundation in Tokyo, RIKEN has grown rapidly in size and scope, today encompassing a network of world-class research centers and institutes across Japan.
5 Grand Challenges are immensely difficult but important problems set by institutions or professions to encourage solutions to real-world issues that are global in scale, multi-disciplinary in approach and are capable of capturing the public’s imagination, and hence political support.