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HPC and energy efficiency: E4 Computer Engineering’s innovation at ISC High Performance 2023
The revolutionary liquid cooling system for more efficient HPC servers was presented at ISC 2023 in Hamburg as part of the European project Textarossa.
At ISC 2023, E4 Computer Engineering unveiled the world premiere of the TEXTAROSSA liquid-cooled server prototype, featuring an innovative two-phase cooling system that enables HPC systems to reach new levels of performance and energy efficiency, solving a historical dilemma, that of thermal management.
Temperature is a critical issue in HPC centres housing numerous computing elements because – since a significant portion of the energy is dedicated to the cooling system – it has a direct impact on the system’s reliability and energy efficiency. The approach used in the TEXTAROSSA project combines an advanced two-phase cooling device with multi-level thermal control strategies to effectively address thermal challenges at both system and node levels. The objective of the European TEXTAROSSA project is to contribute to the goals outlined in the EuroHPC Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda and the ETP4HPC Strategic Research Agenda.
“E4 has always played a role of absolute excellence in the HPC world, with projects of international importance and high-level collaborations with research institutions and companies,” explains Cosimo Gianfreda, CEO of E4 Computer Engineering. “In TEXTAROSSA, we have pooled our advanced skills and the technological partnerships we have forged over the years to create a system that is unrivalled on the market, and which opens up unprecedented prospects for the world of research and industry thanks to its ability to maximise performance, reliability and process efficiency.”
High-performance computing, perspectives and challenges
High-Performance Computing (HPC) plays a crucial role for Countries and large companies, supporting a variety of applications in areas such as finance, weather forecasting, renewable energy research and many others. In addition, emerging sectors such as security, surveillance, bioinformatics and medicine are increasingly relying on HPC, particularly in the areas of high-performance data analysis (HPDA) and high-performance computing for artificial intelligence (HPC-AI).
To meet the needs of large-scale HPC centres, achieving high efficiency while staying within power and energy limits is a significant challenge. Researchers need to consider various factors within the HPC hardware/software combination, such as the use of specialised and highly efficient hardware accelerators, effective management of software resources and the use of advanced cooling systems to achieve optimal performance.
The TEXTAROSSA project strives to address these challenges by focusing on temperature control, energy efficiency, performance and optimal integration of new accelerators based on reconfigurability principles. The development of an innovative two-phase cooling system aims to provide an efficient and cost-effective solution to meet the needs of the current generation and prepare the appropriate technologies for the next generation of HPC infrastructure. According to the Dell’Oro Group, the use of liquid cooling in data centre thermal management represents an extremely significant growth opportunity in the physical evolution of data centre infrastructures, with forecasts of a strong increase to USD 32 billion by the end of 2026.
The TEXTAROSSA server and its cooling system
The solution outlined by E4 Computer Engineering utilises the Ampere® Mt. Collins 2U system with the Ampere® Altra® Max processor, which offers outstanding performance while maintaining impressive energy efficiency per core. This system offers several advantages, including:
- Use of ARM architecture, which aligns with the compatibility goals of the EPI project.
- Large physical space available for cooling system integration.
- Support for a significant number of PCIe slots, allowing FPGA cards or other expansion cards to be added if required.
- Optimal compatibility between cooling system design point and heat dissipation requirements.
In terms of connectivity, this versatile platform boasts 160 PCIe Gen4 lanes, enabling flexible I/O connectivity across PCIe slots, as well as 16 additional PCIe Gen4 lanes for OCP 3.0 networking. The Mt. Collins system supports up to thirty-two 3200 MT/s DDR4 DIMMs, with a maximum memory capacity of 8 TB.
ISC High Performance 2023
This liquid-cooled server prototype was presented during ISC High Performance 2023, an event dedicated to the HPC world held in Hamburg from 21 to 25 May, in which E4 participated both as an exhibitor and by contributing its contribution and know-how to numerous panels and workshops.
The event was also an opportunity to provide an update on the innovative solutions developed by the company in the fields of High Performance Computing (Medooza), High Performance Container Solution (Kaptain), GPU Artificial Intelligence Appliance (GAIA), Virtualisation (Stones), High Performance Cloud (Fluctus), and to anticipate the birth of Urania, the Cloud-Native Data Science solution, which will be presented shortly.