New Supercomputer for Global Chemical Research at BASF

What does it take to go from months to mere days in gaining results when conducting research? Supercomputing now plays a vital role in the advancement of systems efficiency across industries. On March 17th BASF and HPE announced in a press release that BASF has chosen HPE to build a new supercomputer for chemical research projects. HPE’s Apollo System supercomputer will help BASF to reduce computer simulation and modeling times from months to days and will drive the digitalization of BASF’s worldwide research activities.

As stated in the release: “The new system will make it possible to answer complex questions and reduce the time required to obtain results from several months to days across all research areas. As part of BASF’s digitalization strategy, the company plans to significantly expand its capabilities to run virtual experiments with the supercomputer. It will help BASF reduce time to market and costs by, for example, simulating processes on catalyst surfaces more precisely or accelerating the design of new polymers with pre-defined properties.”

Equipped with Intel® Xeon® processors, high-bandwidth, low-latency Intel® Omni-Path Fabric and HPE management software, the supercomputer will act as a single system and will have an effective performance of more than 1 Petaflop (1 Petaflop equals one quadrillion floating point operations per second). With this system architecture, a multitude of nodes can work simultaneously on highly complex tasks, dramatically reducing the processing time.

To manage the cluster HPE decided to equip the supercomputer with Altair’s PBS Works®. PBS Works simplifies and streamlines the management of HPC resources with powerful policy-based job scheduling, user-friendly web portals for job submission and remote visualization, and deep analytics and reporting. With PBS Works, users can optimize system utilization, improve application performance and gain greater ROI on hardware and software investments.

The system is equipped with PBS Professional licenses for more than 1 PFlop cluster, licenses for a large number of concurrent users of Compute Manager, PBS Works’ application for web-based job submission, management and monitoring, and comes with consulting and integration services from HPE and Altair.

Altair is currently working with BASF and HPE on the implementation of PBS Works and Compute Manager. The companies plan to have the system fully operational in summer 2017, shipment and testing of parts of the critical hardware components has already started.

While an implementation of such a big project is always challenging, all involved parties are very confident that this project will become a great success and will mark a new milestone in the adoption of HPC for industrial usage.

Read the entire BASF press release here:

Featured Picture: Apollo-6000-System, picture courtesy of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Jochen Krebs
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Jochen Krebs

About Jochen Krebs

Dr. Krebs began his professional career at Cray Research GmbH in Stuttgart, where he was responsible for user training, application code optimization and system administration of the Cray-1 Supercomputer at Stuttgart University. In 1986, he joined Digital Equipment and held various management positions in marketing, technical support and sales. In 2003, when Digital Equipment had already become part of HP, he took a position as a board member of Partec Cluster Competence Center, an HPC software company based in Munich. He joined Altair in 2005, where he is now the Enterprise Sales Director for Central and Eastern Europe. Dr. Krebs holds a Diploma in Physics from Munich University and worked on his doctoral thesis in theoretical Astrophysics at the Max-Planck of Astrophysics, Garching.