Scientists increasingly need extensive computing power to solve complex problems in physics, mechanics and dynamics. Delft High Performance Computing Centre (DHPC) will deploy the infrastructure (hardware, software and staff) for TU Delft that is capable of complex analysis and modelling for researchers. At the same time we will provide Bachelor, Master and PhD students with hands-on experience using the tools they will need in their careers.
Both high-performance simulations and high-performance data science are evolving rapidly and the combination of these techniques will lead to completely new insights into science and engineering, an increase in innovation, and the training of high-performance computing engineers for the future.
Due to the rapidly evolving hardware and tools for numerical simulations, HPC has significantly changed the way fundamental research is conducted at universities. Simulations not only replace experiments, but also add very valuable fundamental insights. We see the results in all kinds of disciplines, such as materials science, fluid dynamics, quantum mechanics, design optimization, big data mining and artificial intelligence.
Supercomputer on TU Delft campus
The contract with supplier Fujitsu for the Delft High Performance Computing Centre was signed on 22 March 2021. The facility is expected to be operational in autumn 2021. The supercomputer complements existing national and cloud-based facilities, and offers academics and students greater flexibility when conducting their research. The arrival of the supercomputer is accompanied by a comprehensive training programme addressing the effective use of computing facilities.
Research, teaching and innovation
High Performance Computing (HPC) is a ubiquitous technology that significantly contributes to the excellence of teaching, research and innovation at TU Delft. Being able to use simulations for research, instead of complex or time-consuming experiments, is just one benefit. Combining and analysing various data sources can also provide new insights. HPC is therefore a highly powerful tool in a range of fields, such as material science, fluid dynamics, quantum mechanics, design optimisation, big data mining and artificial intelligence (AI).
What makes the Delft High-Performance Computing Centre special is its flexibility: there are few limitations regarding hardware or software, so the facility can be quickly adjusted in line with research and teaching requirements. This makes it a valuable addition to SURFsara, the national facility that accommodates very large and complex calculations, and to cloud-based services that function as backup facilities.
Approximately 80 per cent of the DHPC's computing hours will be used for research. The DHPC will also be used for developing new algorithms and testing new types of software and hardware. The facility will soon also offer outstanding teaching opportunities. For example, students and doctoral candidates will no longer need to wait for a long time for permission to test their models and methods on an external supercomputer. Reflecting the increasingly significant role of data in research, a comprehensive training programme is being set up.
A supercomputer is one of the 500 fastest computers in the world. The Delft supercomputer will be ranked 250th, with a speed of 2 petaflops (one million times a billion calculations per second). The DHPC also offers all of the advantages of a combined, central facility, which optimally complements the existing ICT facilities for research. TU Delft will therefore become the first Dutch university to purchase and utilise a large computing cluster of this kind.