Fastest computer cluster in Berlin-Brandenburg

Science Minister Sabine Kunst unveils new Datura high performance computing cluster at the Albert Einstein Institute

April 05, 2011

2400 processors, 200 servers, 4.8 TeraByte disc space and a maximum computing performance of 25.5 TeraFlops – which equals 25,500 billion calculating operations per second: these are some of the qualities of the Datura high performance computer, which will now help scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute/AEI) to calculate the collisions of black holes and neutron stars.

Thanks to the new, faster computing cluster, scientists in the Numerical Relativity Group will be able to carry out longer calculations and thus expect to track down new phenomena. Most recently, the team of scientists headed by Prof. Dr. Luciano Rezzolla attracted strong attention with their computations concerning the braking behaviour of black holes and concerning merging neutron stars. Datura is now expected to make the simulation of gravitational wave signals even more precise. This will be of great benefit for the international community of gravitational wave researchers who, based on the simulations carried out at the AEI, are combing through the detector data in search of signals.

With the new high-performance computing cluster, the calculations can, on the one hand, be carried out 2-3 times faster than before; on the other hand, much longer simulations are now possible. “When we can observe neutron stars and black holes longer in our ‘virtual lab’, we will presumably also discover new phenomena,” explains Prof. Luciano Rezzolla, head of the Numerical Relativity Group. “What’s more, more precise predictions about gravitational wave forms will be possible, as we will be able to simulate the mutual orbiting of neutron stars and black holes for a longer period of time.”

The official dedication of the high performance computer is the highlight and culmination of a scientific symposium that is being hosted by the AEI on 5 April 2011 entitled “German High Performance Computing in the new Decade”. Representatives of various Brandenburg- and Berlin-based research institutions will gather here to exchange their experiences about applications, management and future strategies in the world of high performance computing.

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