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Energy Efficiency

IBM, LRZ use hot-water cooling system for supercomputer

IBM is using hot water to cool a supercomputer and heat the building it's housed in.

The technology giant, along with Germany's Leibniz Supercomputing Center, has developed what they claim is the world's first commercially available hot-water cooled supercomputer.

The SuperMUC system, installed in LRZ's campus in Garching, uses IBM's hot-water cooling technology to directly cool active components in the system such as processors and memory modules with coolant temperatures that can reach as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cooling systems for data centers are said to amount to 50 percent of a data center's energy costs. LRZ is anticipating savings in energy and heating costs of around $1.25 million a year from the use of this new system.

The new cooling technology improves the systems performance while consuming 40 percent less energy than a comparable air-cooled machine.

The cooling system works like the circulatory system of a human body. Microchannels transport water and coolants directly to the processors, which carry away the heat. The captured heat even be used in a to heat buildings.

LRZ is the computer center for Munich's universities and for the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. The center's SuperMUC system is said to be the largest in Europe and one of the most powerful systems in the world.

The SuperMUC system was built with IBM System x iDataPlex Direct Water Cooled dx360 M4 servers with more than 150,000 cores for a peek performance of up to three petaflops, or the equivalent to the work of more than 110,000 personal computers.

The super computer is part of the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe and jointly funded by the German federal government ant the state of Bavaria.

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