First Fusion Research European Supercomputer up and running
Brussels, 26 May 2009
The European fusion community is putting into operation its first powerful supercomputer aiming to analyse the behaviour of burning plasmas and of the materials surrounding them in a fusion reactor. This is a crucial step to ensure the success of the international fusion facility ITER, which is going to reproduce on earth the reaction powering the sun. The European "High Performance Computer For Fusion" (HPC-FF), the first supercomputer entirely dedicated to fusion research, was inaugurated at Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany today.
The European Commission is investing around €7.4 million. The total budget including the investment for the supercomputer and its exploitation over the coming four years is around €16.8 million. Financial contributions are coming from the entire European fusion community including Forschungszentrum Jülich, Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, and all the other 27 associates to the European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA).
Modelling of fusion burning plasmas - in particular first-principle based modelling as it will be carried out on HPC-FF - is an extremely demanding scientific task and constitutes a vital element in the preparation of ITER exploitation. Equally challenging will be modelling the behaviour of first wall materials and the energy exhaust in the presence of burning plasmas.
The HPC-FF computer has 1080 compute nodes (8640 cores) and a peak performance of one hundred thousand billion operations per second or 100 TeraFlop/s. It was designed and will be hosted as well as operated by the Jülich Supercomputing Centre in Germany near Cologne. It is expected to be among the 30 most powerful computers in the world.
ITER is the largest experimental fusion facility in the world and currently under construction at Cadarache in Southern France. ITER partners represent more than half of the world's population: the People's Republic of China, the European Union, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States.
The European Commission contributes to fusion research within the EURATOM Seventh Research Framework Programme (EURATOM FP7) lasting from 2007 to 2011 with in total €1.9 bn over this period. About €1 bn is dedicated to the ITER facility construction and €900 m to fusion research in general.
Forschungszentrum Jülich pursues cutting-edge interdisciplinary research on solving major challenges facing society in the fields of health, energy and the environment, and also information technologies. In combination with its two key competencies – physics and supercomputing – work at Jülich focuses on both long-term, fundamental and multidisciplinary contributions to science and technology as well as on specific technological applications. The Jülich Supercomputing Centre regularly hosts and designs world leading Supercomputers and supports a user community of over 200 science and research groups.