Hot-water cooled IBM supercomputer cuts energy use by 40%

Posted at June 23, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on Hot-water cooled IBM supercomputer cuts energy use by 40%

IBM has developed a hot-water cooled supercomputer that consumes 40% less energy than a comparable air-cooled system.

The supercomputer has been devised in collaboration with the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) in Garching, Germany, in response to a new requirement that all state funded institutions in the country run on 100% sustainable electricity.

Currently, up to 50% of a conventional air-cooled data centre’s energy demand comes from the cooling system – not the actual computing.

So IBM developed a hot-water cooling technology for the SuperMUC supercomputer that directly cools active components in the system, such as processors and memory modules, which can reach temperatures of 45°C.

The “revolutionary” cooling system eliminates the need for conventional air cooling and allows the waste energy to be captured and re-used to heat the buildings during winter, saving some €1 million a year in running costs.

The hot-water cooling system also allows the computer, which is the fastest in Europe and the fourth fastest in the world, to be ten times more compact than a comparable air-cooled system.

“As we continue to deliver on our long-term vision of a zero emission data centre, we may eventually achieve a million fold reduction in the size of SuperMUC, so that it can be reduced to the size of a desktop computer with a much higher efficiency than today, ” says Bruno Michel, manager of IBM’s advanced thermal packaging research programme.

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Related stories:
HP unveils net zero-energy data centre design (1-Jun)
Apple’s new data centre to run on 100% renewable energy (21-May)
IBM wins plaudits from EC for energy efficient data centres (9-Jan)

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