Advancing Life & Work

Furthering Sustainability in High-Performance Computing

This World Environment Day we take pause to ask ourselves, how can society continue to leverage technology to lessen its burden on the environment?

One solution lies within the world of supercomputing.

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Top research centers around the world are tasked with solving some of humanity’s most complicated problems such as pandemic modelling, food security, and climate change. However, the answers to these pressing challenges are buried in massive amounts of data which require a lot of compute capacity and power to analyze. By furthering the efficiency of high-performance computing (HPC), researchers can continue complex modelling, without exhausting our planet’s energy resources. 

HPE is working alongside our global strategic partner, ABB, to increase compute capacity while reducing its environmental footprint and innovating within the space limitations of today’s highly advanced, densely built HPC systems. Since sacrificing computing capability for power is not an option in high-performance machines, our engineers at Cray are constantly seeking ways to increase compute thresholds. ABB approached this issue by rethinking how to provide the extra power.  

The solution? An innovative liquid-cooled, 12.5-kilowatt, hot-swappable rectifier, featuring a 96 percent efficiency.  

A rectifier is a power supply that converts alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC). The rectifiers can connect to, communicate, and engage with our Cray supercomputers. Additionally, the super-compute systems can “tell” the rectifiers when to ramp up power or when to scale it down, depending on the computing load. When you start multiplying rectifier efficiency by the number of cabinets in a supercomputer and rectifiers per cabinet, the impact is significant.

ABB also provided board-mounted DC/DC converter modules to ensure that the appropriate voltage level for the processers is applied at any given moment. Cray computers use power supplies with a +/- 190-volt output instead of traditional 380-volt output levels. The use of higher voltage direct current reduces power losses by as much as 95 percent.

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Applying the innovation engine of HPE to sustainably meet the technology demands of the future. Follow us: @HPE_LivingProg