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HPE builds supercomputer for renewable energy research

Steve Rogerson
August 22, 2018

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is building a supercomputer called Eagle for the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that is more energy efficient and 3.5 times more powerful than its existing system.
The development is part of a long-standing collaboration between HPE and the US Department of Energy (DoE) to apply supercomputing to accelerate research across various DoE agencies. The system, which NREL has named Eagle, will run more detailed models that simulate complex processes, systems and phenomena to advance early research and development on energy technologies across fields including vehicle, wind power and data sciences.
As computing advances and supercomputers increasingly adopt scalable performance, the industry will continue to combat energy consumption to lower operating costs and pollution levels. HPE says it is committed to designing innovative energy-efficient products for high performance computing technologies. Through collaborative efforts with NREL, from an initiative to enable data centres with hydrogen fuel cell to the new Eagle system, HPE says it is powering smarter, energy-conscious data centre environments.
With Eagle, said to be the world’s largest HPC (high-performance computing) system dedicated to advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, HPE is supporting NREL’s on-going mission to improve energy consumption and widen its sustainability practices.
Eagle is powered by the HPE SGI 8600, a system designed from the ground up to run complex HPC workloads at petaflop speeds – or a quadrillion (thousand trillion) floating point operations per second (flops). Additionally, with the HPE SGI 8600, Eagle is gaining a warm liquid cooling system that captures 97 per cent of wasted heat to reuse in other areas of its hosted facility such as surrounding office space and laboratories.
“We are strongly committed to architecting technologies that power the next wave of supercomputing and are creating advanced HPC systems while scaling energy efficiency in data centres, to get us there,” said Bill Mannel, vice president at HPE. “Through Eagle and our overall on-going collaboration with the US DoE and NREL, we are advancing research to bolster innovation in energy and sustainability.”
HPE is enabling Eagle with a fully integrated, turnkey system that includes compute, network and storage capabilities. The system runs on the Intel Xeon scalable processors, uses Mellanox EDR Infiniband fabric and comprises 76,104 compute cores, 2144 dual-socket computes nodes, each with memory ranging from 96 to 768Gbyte, delivering a peak performance of eight petaflops.
“With Eagle, we are gaining significant compute power to boost scientific discovery efforts and support our mission in advancing innovation in energy technologies,” said Steve Hammond, director of NREL’s computational science centre. “By collaborating with HPE, we are gaining better tools to improve simulation and modelling across complex events to unlock new insights.”
Eagle will be installed in NREL’s ESIF energy system integration facility data centre this summer and put into production use in January 2019.