Apr 28, 2021

Hewlett Packard to build supercomputer for NSCC Singapore

Sam Steers
3 min
Courtesy of Getty Images
Hewlett Packard Enterprise has been selected to manufacture a SGD$40mn supercomputer for the National Supercomputing Centre in Singapore...

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has announced it has been selected to build a supercomputer for the National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) in Singapore.

The U.S. tech company has been awarded SGD$40mn to complete the project which claims to be eight times faster than NSCC’s existing HPC resources. 

Originally funded by a SGD$200mn investment the supercomputer will be built and powered using the HPE Cray EX Supercomputer, an HPC system which supports next-generation supercomputing.

Talking about the project, Bill Mannel, Vice President and General Manager of HPE, said: “We are honored to continue empowering their mission by building them a powerful system using the HPE Cray EX supercomputer that delivers comprehensive, purposely-engineered technologies for demanding research.

“The new system will deliver a significant boost to R&D, allowing Singapore’s community of scientists and engineers to make greater contributions that will unlock innovation, economic value, and overall, strengthen the nation’s position in becoming more digitally-driven,” he said. 

The supercomputer also aims to progress research efforts through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and deep machine learning, maximising modelling and software simulation for quantum computing. 

Housed in a data centre designed for increased sustainability and reduced energy consumption, the NSCC’s supercomputer has liquid-cooling capabilities used to increase power density and energy efficiency by transferring heat. 

This aims to allow NSCC to further their Research and Development, making progress in several areas. These include: 

  • Understanding the spread of airborne cough droplets, critical to addressing immediate risks related to COVID-19.
  • Accelerating insights into weather forecasting and climate patterns for Singapore and Southeast Asia with high resolution weather modelling capabilities.
  • Advancing safety in autonomous driving with optimised AI training. 

Unlocking a new level of scientific discovery

Purpose-built for petaflop to exaflop performance, the HPE Cray EX Supercomputer includes a software stack gifting users with the high-performance of a supercomputer with the operational ease of a cloud. 

HPE also plans to integrate these next-generation technologies into its supercomputer platform: 

  • Expanded storage to support and share complex workloads: This models simulation and AI using the Cray ClusterStor E1000 storage system from HPE and HPE Data Management Framework. NSCC’s new supercomputer will deliver 10 petabytes of storage with over 300GB/s of read/write performance speeds.
  • Purpose-built HPC networking using HPE Slingshot: This addresses demands for higher speed and congestion control for data-intensive workloads
  • Fully integrated software suite to optimize HPC and AI applications using the HPE Cray Programming Environment
  • Powerful compute to improve modeling and simulation using 3rd Gen AMD EPYC™ processors
  • Targeted accelerated computing capabilities with 352 NVIDIA® A100 Tensor Core GPUs for both HPC and AI workloads
  • Expanded network infrastructure with multiple 100Gbps links for upgraded connectivity between users and the supercomputing resources using the SingAREN-Lightwave Internet Exchange (SLIX) from the Singapore Advanced Research and Education Network (SingAREN)

HPE and the NSCC plan for the new supercomputer to be fully operational by early next year. 

More information can be found on the NSCC’s website. 

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Jun 21, 2021

NUS and NTU launch cooling project for tropical data centres

3 min
A project by The Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore aims to find cooling solutions for tropical data centres

The National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), have announced a project in an attempt to source and develop new cooling solutions for data centres located in tropical areas. According to the companies, the programme costs S$23mn (US$17.1mn) and plans to research, build and test innovative and sustainable cooling solutions. 

The Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT)

The NUS and NTU say that the Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT) will act as a research point and innovation hub for the project. Facebook, along with the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF), is also involved, providing funding for the programme. Further support from other partners includes the Infocomm Media Development Authority, Ascenix, CoolestDC Keppel Data Centres, Red Dot Analytics, and New Media Express. 

Commenting on working with the companies, Facebook Vice President of Infrastructure, Alex Johnson, said: “We are excited about the opportunity to partner NUS, NTU, Keppel Data Centres and the CoolestSG community to develop innovative solutions that reduce the carbon footprint and energy consumption of the average data centre, particularly those located in tropical areas like Singapore”. 

The NTU and NUS highlight that Singapore houses 60% of Southeast Asia’s total data centre market, and aims to supply 12% of the country’s total energy needs by 2030. This results in the need to reduce the carbon footprints and power consumption of data centres, meaning more innovative cooling solutions are required, the NTU and NUS said. 

Professor Chen Thuan, Deputy President of Research & Technology at the NUS, said: “Data centres are a critical enabler of the digital economy, but the average data centre can exert a significant environmental burden. Aligned with RIE 2025, sustainability is a key research focus of NUS, and our researchers have deep expertise in developing integrated solutions for tropical, urban and Asian settings”.

How will the Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT) help to provide cooling solutions?

According to the NUS and NTU, the STDCT will be built using equipment such as a novel desiccant-coated heat exchanger and a StatePoint Liquid Cooling System (SPLC) designed by both Nortek Air Solutions and Facebook. The institutions also say they will adopt chip-level hybrid cooling to ensure servers remain cool. 

Furthermore, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) will aim to manage the “smart operations” of the technologies so that the data centres are water and power efficient, as well as able to preserve equipment and servers. 

The NTU and NSU said in a joint statement the combination of the cooling technologies could reduce energy consumption “significantly” and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25%, compared to traditional air-cooled data centres. If adopted industry-wide across the entire tropical region, the energy usage of the data centre industry could potentially be lowered by at least 40%”, the companies said. 

The STDCT is expected to be operational by 1 October 2021.


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