IBM Cools Supercomputer With Hot Water to Save Energy

© IBM Research

Using hot water to cool machinery isn't exactly revolutionary. We reported on IBM using hot water to cool its Power 575 supercomputer back in 2008. But that doesn't make it any less important for saving energy, and innovative for improving on the technology.

Recently IBM collaborated with the Leibniz Supercomputer Center in Munich to cool its SuperMUC supercomputer with hot water. The gain is a 40% drop in energy needed to cool it compared to air-cooled systems. The heat is then used for the heating systems of the Leibniz Supercomputing Center campus for an estimated annual savings of $1.25 million on their heating bills.

"This year all the electricity consumed by state-funded institutions across Germany are required to purchase 100% sustainable energy," said Prof. Dr. Arndt Bode, Chairman of the Board, Leibniz Supercomputing Centre in a press statement. "SuperMUC will help us keep our commitment, while giving the scientific community a best-in-class system to test theories, design experiments and predict outcomes as never before."

ZDNet reports, "The system, called the LRZ “SuperMUC,” is based on an IBM System x iDataPlex Direct Water Cooled dx360 M4 server. It contains more than 150,000 cores and can provide peak performance of up to three petaflops — which is described as the equivalent of the processing power of 110,000 personal computers. The SuperMUC just wound up as No. 4 on the latest list of the world’s top 500 fastest supercomputers."

Not only is it fast, but the design is smart. The hot-water cooling technology helps shrink the size of the system by a factor of ten, and Bruno Michel, manager of Advanced Thermal Packaging for IBM Research, hopes to improve the design enough to make it a zero emissions machine the size of a desktop computer. Now that would be something to marvel at!

Be sure to watch the video below to learn more about this impressive machine.

Tags: Computing | Electronics | Energy Efficiency | Technology

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