Frontera Supercomputer Performs Super Human Computing

GRC’s ICEraQ® System Cools New Frontera Supercomputer.

Submitted by Brandon Moore, GRC Solutions Architect
On: September 25, 2019 Comments: 0
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When two pioneering, forward-looking companies team up with the right mindset, great things are sure to happen. That’s definitely the case when it comes to our recent collaboration with monster chip-maker NVIDIA on the Frontera supercomputer, To be sure, one of our premiere projects is already having a huge impact – one that promises to benefit mankind.

Frontera is housed at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas at Austin. It not only ranks fifth on the TOP500 list of fastest supercomputers; it has also been crowned the fastest academic supercomputer in the world.

But more than a sophisticated amalgam of metal, plastic, wires and silicon, Frontera is a humanitarian at its core.

Founded on 10 Years of Immersion Cooling Success

GRC is proud to have supported the Frontera supercomputer initiative with immersion cooling since the project’s inception in 2018, as we have other, equally worthy TACC projects since 2009. In fact, TACC now boasts the longest-running install of liquid immersion cooling on the planet. A powerful single-precision compute cluster, Frontera will utilize the AI, high-performance computing and data analytics capabilities

of NVIDIA GPUs to facilitate advanced simulation and research in the fields of medicine, astrophysics, urban planning and many others. This thanks to a $60 million award from the National Science Foundation.

Read about GRC’s Decade of Supercomputing Achievements >>

Frontera Supercomputer has Super Potential
Frontera Supercomputer has Super Potential

It’ll Be a Hot Time in Texas

Advanced computational workloads like AI are mostly the province of GPUs, what with the massive amount of matrix multiplication operations required to crunch all those ones and zeroes. Naturally, it’s going to get pretty hot in the kitchen when Frontera’s GPUs start cooking up fresh scientific discoveries. Traditional air cooling methods are simply inadequate.

Here’s where GRC’s affiliation with NVIDIA was instrumental. To help Frontera achieve the necessary compute density, we worked closely with TACC and NVIDIA to design and build custom servers that leverage the full potential of immersion cooling.

A cluster of 360 NVIDIA® Tensor® Core GPUs constitutes one of the computer’s subsystems. We incorporated our ICEraQ system to cool these processors because of its simplicity, virtually limitless cooling capacity and it’s remarkable energy efficiency, too.

Proven in the field since 2009, our immersion cooling technology has the potential to cool up to 100 kW/rack (200 kw using a chilled water system!), cut energy costs in half and deliver an mPUE of ~1.03.
Frontera Supercomputer is a True Petascale Computer

Frontera’s On, Mankind Wins

Frontera Supercomputer Specifications

Over its lifetime, the Frontera supercomputer has the potential to run hundreds of cutting edge applications that will assist researchers from academic institutions around the world.

Astrophysicists will be able to run large-scale simulations to better understand our universe. Deep learning tools will help doctors identify diseases and other issues faster, and improve the accuracy of their diagnoses as well. Frontera could also potentially help researchers isolate promising molecular compounds for more effective drugs. Frontera’s AI capabilities can aid in city planning, too, locating congested areas and dangerous intersections. Earth science projects ll also benefit greatly. Since weather models depend on high-fidelity simulations to analyze complex terrestrial interactions, researchers can use Frontera to better predict weather and earthquakes, optimize agricultural projects and explore new energy sources.

In fact, right now, more than three dozen teams are tapping into Frontera’s power in many of these fields.

The Frontera Supercomputer is Just the Start of What Immersion Cooling Can Do

Since helping pioneer single-phase immersion cooling for data centers back in 2009, GRC has had the honor of supporting scientific institutions around the globe with a vision to make the world a better place. TACC’s Frontera is just the latest, and certainly one of the most promising.

But as supercomputing, GPU-based AI and other next-gen applications continue coming to the fore – and requiring next-gen cooling, it’s really just the start of our commitment to push the limits of what technology can do.

Read our blog on The Increasing Use of GPU Acceleration – What it Means for Data Center Cooling >>

Can Liquid Immersion Cooling Do You a World of Good?

We’re confident it can, and you can be too. Simply, send us an email at ContactUs@grcooling.com or call +1 (512) 692-8003 and find out for certain. A GRC associate will reach out and run the numbers for you.