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University of Münster picks MEGWARE to build new supercomputer PALMA II


Chemnitz, March 27, 2018 – MEGWARE headquarters  

PALMA II - hearing this term may easily make you start dreaming about sun, palms and sandy beaches, especially in view of the current weather conditions with snow, slush and frosty temperatures. In reality, however, it has nothing to do with a sunny island in the Mediterranean. In fact, the term refers to the new supercomputer installed by the Chemnitz-based HPC specialist MEGWARE, which began its work at the University of Münster last week. PALMA is an acronym for "parallel Linux system for Münster users" (Paralleles Linux-System für Münsteraner Anwender). The system will be used as innovative computing lab by about 50 research groups of the university.

The Münster supercomputer PALMA II has a maximum performance of approx. 1.1 quadrillion floating point operations (calculations) per second. It features a total of 412 compute nodes. 404 of these are equipped with two Intel processors, eight are equipped four Intel processors, each bundling 18 cores. In total, PALMA II has more than 15,000 CPU cores and about 72.4 TB total memory. Between the compute nodes, the data is transmitted via an Intel Omni-Path network at 100 gigabits per second (Gbps). Thus, PALMA II is about 36 times more powerful than its predecessor PALMA I, which has been used at the University of Münster since October 2010. Hence, there is a good chance for PALMA II of being listed in the TOP 500 list in 2018.

Last Friday, the new supercomputer with a total volume of approx. 3.2 million euros was officially inaugurated. In their ceremonial speeches, the chancellor of the WWU Münster, Matthias Schwarte, and the director of the Center for Information Processing (ZIV), Dr. Raimund Vogl, agreed that a modern university with an excellent and sustainable research relies on a highly efficient IT infrastructure. "The new PALMA II cluster is vital in strengthening science and research at our university. Special thanks go to our IT vendor MEGWARE that installed the new HPC system in the new data center at Einsteinstraße 60 within a very short time, "said Vogl and added:" Even the first LINPACK run on all nodes was already initiated."

PALMA II is an important step in helping Münster researchers from the fields of physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology to work on complex research challenges on a new scale. The research group of Prof. Dr. Andreas Heuer from the Institute of Physical Chemistry is one of the users of the new cluster. "The available hardware is a key factor in carrying out groundbreaking research," explains the chemist in his speech. "We will, for instance, use PALMA II for our complex simulations of electrolyte mixtures in lithium-ion batteries." Other R&D projects, for example research on membranes and proteins, will also make use of the new supercomputer. "In order to simulate the segregation of membranes on the atomistic scale, we still needed one and a half years of computing time with PALMA I until the segregation could be seen", recalls Andreas Heuer. "The time required for such calculations can now be significantly reduced with the next generation supercomputer."