Italian Supercomputer Sets World Record for Energy Efficiency

by | Feb 1, 2013

Italy’s Eurora supercomputer (pictured), which uses Nvidia Tesla GPU accelerators based on Nvidia Kepler, has set a new record for data center energy efficiency, according to Nvidia.

The Eurora supercomputer, built by Eurotech and deployed at the Cineca facility in Bologna, Italy, reached 3,150 megaflops per watt of sustained performance, Nvidia says. This is 26 percent higher than the top system on the most recent Green500 list of the world’s most efficient supercomputers.

A megaflop is a unit of computing speed equal to one million floating-point operations (FLOPs) per second

Eurora broke the record by combining 128 high-performance, energy-efficient Nvidia Tesla K20 accelerators with the Eurotech Aurora Tigon supercomputer with Aurora hot water cooling technology, which uses direct hot water cooling on all electronic and electrical components of the HPC system.

Available to members of the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) and major Italian research entities, Eurora will enable scientists to advance research and discovery across a range of scientific disciplines, including material science, astrophysics, life sciences and Earth sciences.

The companies say the Eurora system is more efficient and compact than conventional air-cooled solutions because it pairs Nvidia Tesla K20 GPUs with Eurotech’s Aurora hot water cooling technology.

HPC systems based on the Eurora hardware architecture, including the Eurotech Aurora Tigon, enable data centers to reduce energy bills by up to 50 percent and reduce total cost of ownership by 30 to 50 percent, according to the companies.

Additionally, the Aurora hot water cooling technology reduces or eliminates the need for air conditioning in typically warm climates like Italy. The thermal energy the system produces can be used to heat buildings, drive adsorption chillers for air conditioning or generate tri-generation, the combined production of electricity, heating and cooling.

In December 2012, Asetek announced it had been selected to perform a $2 million project to retrofit a major Department of Defense data center with its hot water direct-to-chip liquid-cooling technology. Meanwhile, in Switzerland the energy-efficient Deltalis RadixCloud data center uses cold glacier water from mountain near the Swiss Gotthard massif for the cooling.

Data center energy costs are the top-of-mind issues for data center managers, according to a fall 2012 survey of data center users from Emerson Network Power, with 35 percent of respondents citing power as the primary factor limiting data center capacity and 16 percent citing cooling.


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