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New ultra-efficient HPC data center debuts
Date:3/19/2013

ng NREL's mission and will enable scientists to address challenges that have been intractable to date. The new system will greatly expand NREL's modeling and simulation capabilities, including advancing materials research and developing a deeper understanding of biological and chemical processes. "Modeling and simulation capability is a key part of advancing our technologies," Hammond said. "It allows us to do research we can't do experimentally because it would be too expensive, or would take too long if actual systems were built. We can mathematically model and run numerical simulations that allow us to understand things through direct observation."

Before building an HPC data center in the ESIF, NREL had a small system on its campus, while collaborating with Sandia National Laboratories on the RedMesa supercomputer to bridge the gap until NREL had a facility to house its own HPC system. For the past two years, the NREL/Sandia solution has been oversubscribed. "We averaged 92% utilization day in and day out; we needed much more capable systems to meet growing demand for modeling and simulation," Hammond said.

According to Hammond, NREL will also reach out to the local utility to study demand-response scenarios. "There are times in summer when electricity demand is high that we could shed load with the data center to help Xcel Energy." NREL could alter workloads and schedule particular jobs to run in mornings when there's a high demand for heat and cooling is less expensive. In another scenario, NREL could schedule workloads to take advantage of lower electricity costs or be mindful of when rates are higher to help reduce operating expenses. "There is a lot of interest in looking at how to integrate the HPC system in the building automation system as part of the energy systems integration work that we're doing," Hammond said.

"The computational activities at NREL had to be part of the efficiency equation," said Wheat. "A motivation for In
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Contact: David Glickson
david.glickson@nrel.gov
303-275-4097
DOE/National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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