bwForCluster Helix

A new supercomputer is coming 

A new scientific high-performance computing system is being built at Heidelberg University: Currently, preparations are being made to procure bwForCluster Helix and set it up at the University Computing Centre (URZ). In fall 2021, the system will be available as a State service for all researchers of Heidelberg University as well as researchers of all higher education institutions of the State of Baden-Württemberg. The procurement of Helix is financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg (MWK) and Heidelberg University. 

As a supercomputer with state-of-the-art equipment, Helix will replace the current system bwForCluster MLS&WISO. The computer cluster will no longer be divided in locations in Heidelberg and Mannheim but rather situated solely at the Heidelberg University Computing Centre (URZ). 

Bild: Nullen und Einsen bewegen sich schnell entlang von Lichtstrahlen
Bild: Nahaufnahme einer Platine

Powerful Hardware for Scientific Research 

The underlying Helix hardware provides a modern and powerful platform for scientific computing and the processing of large amounts of data. 

Overview of the planned specifications of the new cluster: 

  • several hundred compute servers (some with graphic cards as an accelerator) 
  • high-performance network with minimum bandwidths of 100 Gbit/s per compute server 
  • high-performance memory utilizing flash technology 

By connecting directly to the Large Scale Data Facility 2 (LSDF2) scientific storage system and thus to the data stored there through the State service SDS@hd, Helix will make seamless, cross-system workflows possible. Thus, data storage, data management and computing capacity all come from one provider.

A bwHPC-Cluster for life sciences and computational humanities 

The primary use for the new computer cluster is intended for the fields

  • structural system biology 
  • medical science 
  • soft matter 
  • computational humanities

as well as for method development independent of a specific field.

The bwForCluster Helix is a building block of the bwHPC strategy of the State of Baden-Württemberg, through which high-performance computing clusters for various scientific disciplines are being made available at five locations. The goal of bwHPC is to ensure an excellent basic supply of computing and data storage resources for researchers in the state. 

Other important core aspects of the bwHPC strategy are comprehensive user support and goal-oriented user training. For these purposes, both subject-specific bwHPC competence centers as well as HPC teams at the various cluster sites are available throughout Baden-Württemberg.

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Updated information about Helix 

Soon we will be linking news and updated information about Helix in this section to keep you up-to-date about the ongoing construction of the system.

Images: 1. kkssr/Shutterstock | 2. spainter_vfx/Shutterstock | 3. SK Herb/Shutterstock