Agenda hpc-ch Forum “Infrastructure for HPC”, May 24th, 2012 at EMPA

Setting the Scope

In this forum we would like to discuss the different aspects related to providing an infrastructure for the HPC systems we are operating. In many institutions the factors limiting HPC are not the available personnel or monetary resources but simply the available resources where new systems are to be installed.

Providing an adequate technical infrastructure for HPC encompasses different fields such as overall architecture, electricity, cooling, security etc. This is made more difficult since in most cases it is not possible to build a new data center but we have to adapt our needs to existing buildings.

Key Questions

We would like to exchange our experiences in this field and discuss some of the following points:

  • What is the actual situation at our centers? Expressed in available square meters, maximal power usage, cooling technologies, PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness), etc.
  • What are our forecasts (3 to 8 years) in the increase of technology of HPC?
  • How will the infrastructure requirements for HPC systems grow in the next future? On what do we base our extrapolation? What will be the limiting factors?
  • What are today’s best practices and problems in running an infrastructure for HPC?
  • What are the trends in this field? What will our infrastructure look like in a decade?
  • What problems are often experienced, such as unreliable power, cooling infrastructure problems or polluted air?
  • Essential, unthought of needs, such as cable management, inventory management, configuration management, etc.

Location / Hosting

The Topic Forum will take place at Empa Akademie; Empa, Ueberlandstrasse 129, 8600 Duebendorf

Please refer to this link to get information about how to reach Empa »


Daniele Passerone, Empa, tel 058 765 4877
Carlo Pignedoli, EMPA, tel 058 765 4203
Michele De Lorenzi, CSCS / hpc-ch, tel 091 610 82 08


10:00 – 10:30 Coffee and registration

10:30 – 10:40 Greeting and introduction

Daniele Passerone (Empa)
Michele De Lorenzi (CSCS / hpc-ch)

10:40 – 11:00 Internal keynote presentations

  • Pushing the borders of science: in‐depth studies and their priceIn this talk, I will focus on two cases within the field of fluid mechanics, where HPC computing became a necessity. These examples draw from my own experience and serve to highlight some limitations of current HPC infrastructure, mainly related to data transfer and storage; Peter Moonen (EMPA)

11:00 – 11:45 Short presentations

  • New DC@EPFL : a bet on a “passive” water cooling solution; Aristide Boisseau (EPFL)
  • Infrastructure for Schrödinger: Lessons learned; Christian Bolliger (UZH)

11:45 – 12:00 Community Development, Michele De Lorenzi and Sigve Haug

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 14:00 Guided tour at Empa (two tours of half an hour)

14:00 – 17:00 Short presentations (with a short break at 15:30)

  • The new CSCS building; Ladina Gilly (CSCS)
  • Energy-driven algorithms; Vincent Keller (CADMOS)
  • Experiences from a small-size HPC server room; Vittoria Rezzonico (EPFL)
  • Infrastructure for HPC @ PSI; Edgar Barabas and Derek Feichtinger (PSI)
  • HPC Infrastructure @ UNIBE; Gianfranco Sciacca (University of Bern)

17:00 Farewell and end of the meeting