New Supercomputer for RWTH Aachen University

Photo of the new NEC Supercomputer IT Center

RWTH Aachen University now has access to a new supercomputer, delivered earlier this month by NEC Deutschland GmbH. The new system will provide researchers in the engineering and natural sciences with high-performance computing capacity and support their wide‐ranging research needs. Thanks to the new supercomputer, RWTH Aachen is now in the top ten of German universities in terms of HPC resources.


The new high-performance computer is called „Cluster Aix-la-Chappelle,” Claix for short. The system hosts compute nodes of the NEC LX series based on the new Intel Xeon E5-2600 processor product family. The system is built from more than 750 nodes, consisting of large memory SMP nodes and dual socket MPI compute nodes, with a total of over 19,000 computational cores capable of delivering a performance of more than 600 TeraFLOPS.

Furthermore, the nodes are connected through a high-speed Intel Omni-Path network with a topology that allows continuous expansion of the system for future HPC requirements.

The compute cluster also features a four petabyte NEC LXFS-z parallel file-system capable of 60 gigabyte per second bandwidth. Moreover, a scalable ZFS-based Lustre solution provides advanced data integrity features in combination with a high-density and high-reliability design.

Environmentally-Friendly & Cost-Effective Operation

Importantly, the new system is environmentally-friendly. The servers are entirely cooled with facility water, which reduces the air cooling requirements for the computer room by 90 percent. The cooling system allows water inlet temperatures up to 30 degrees Celsius, and by 2018, the cluster can be cooled through a heat exchanger that does not require external cooling power.

As Professor Matthias Müller, director of the IT Center at RWTH Aachen University, explains: “We chose NEC LX technology for its outstanding performance and its low operating costs, which are made possible through the system’s innovative cooling technology. We are looking forward to continuing our collaboration with NEC as a strong corporate partner to support and expand our IT infrastructure with innovative technologies.”