New High Performance ComputerbwForCluster Helix

A new scientific high performance system is expected to be available for all Heidelberg University researchers as well as researchers from all high education institutions of the State of Baden-Württemberg.

The acquisition of Helix is financed by the Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) (German Research Foundation), the Ministry for Sciences, Research and Arts of Baden-Württemberg (MWK) and Heidelberg University. Helix will replace the current system bwForCluster MLS&WISO as a supercomputer with state-of-the-art equipment. The computer cluster will no longer be divided in locations in Heidelberg and Mannheim but rather situated solely at the Heidelberg University Computing Centre.

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 specifications of the new cluster: 

  • The newly acquired system will have approximately 20,000 AMD EPYC Milan processor cores
  • 100 terabytes of main memory, and 200 NVIDIA Ampere Tensor Core GPUs (A100 and A40).
  • For communication technology, it will employ a non-blocking NVIDIA Mellanox InfiniBand HDR network with a connection of at least 100 GBit/s per computer node.
  • The high-performance memory features a parallel IBM Spectrum Scale file system with a total capacity of about 11 petabytes
  • with a flash storage capacity of about 800 terabytes.

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(at)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.