What supercomputers are used for

Hawk: University of Stuttgart receives new supercomputer

Hawk, one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, is now showing its skills at the high-performance computing center of the University of Stuttgart (HLRS). The supercomputer comes from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).

Supercomputers outdo each other in their computing power.

Photo: panthermedia.net/Michael Osterrieder

Hawk is a central component of the German and Baden-Württemberg strategies for high-performance computing. With its commissioning, Germany and Baden-Württemberg will reach a new level of digitalization in science, especially with regard to engineering. With a performance that is 3.5 times that of the previous flagship computer "Hazel Hen", Hawk will open up completely new academic and industrial areas of application. We have listed who is behind Hazel Hen in the ranking of supercomputers here.

Hawk aims to optimize energy efficiency

Hawk's future areas of responsibility include, for example, the optimization of the energy efficiency of wind turbines, the optimization of engines and power plants or the improvement of aerodynamics in aircraft and automobile construction. For the first time, Hawk could simulate the noise development of an entire aircraft in detail. Hawk can also contribute to overcoming global challenges: It enables the investigation of the complex interactions between regional and global climates. It also enables larger and more accurate simulations of how pathogens spread around the world.

Half of the funds for Hawk totaling 38 million euros were made available by the Ministry of Science, Research and Art of the State of Baden-Württemberg as part of the state's strategy for high-performance computing and data-intensive computing. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) contributed the second half as part of the SiVeGCS project. The funding came from the Gauss Center for Supercomputing (GCS), the alliance of the three national German supercomputing centers.

Future technologies for supercomputing

The commissioning of Hawk also marks the beginning of a new cooperation between HLRS and HPE to jointly advance the future technologies for supercomputing. This includes, among other things, the development of new software and tools for high-performance computing, the optimization of computer performance and the development of artificial intelligence applications. These technologies are the springboard for the next level of performance in supercomputers, so-called exascale computers, which will be developed over the next few years.

In addition to supporting academic research, the HLRS also enables the private sector to access its supercomputing technologies. With up to 10% of Hawk's computing time, the digitization of the economy in Baden-Württemberg and Germany is significantly supported. More than 40 mainly medium-sized companies are currently working on the HLRS systems. This is a European unique selling point of the Stuttgart location and the national Gauss Center for Supercomputing.

This is what the Hawk supercomputer looks like.

Photo: HLRS

This is what the Hawk supercomputer looks like.

Photo: HLRS

Voices for the inauguration of Hawk

The inauguration took place on February 19, 2020 in the presence of the Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Minister of Education and Research, Dr. Michael Meister, the Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann, the Minister for Science, Research and Art in Baden-Württemberg Theresia Bauer, and the Rector of the University of Stuttgart, Prof. Wolfram Ressel.

Parliamentary State Secretary Michael Meister explains: “Computers like 'Hawk' are tools for cutting-edge research in science and business. They enable excellent science and innovations and secure Germany's top position in international competition as a top location for supercomputing. High-performance computers are an important contribution to technology sovereignty in the digital age. For us, technological sovereignty means developing our own system and application skills in science and business at the highest level. This is the only way we can guarantee a mutual exchange with leading research institutions and companies worldwide. The 'Hawk' in Stuttgart shows this very clearly, because a system of this performance would not have been possible without the close cooperation between the data center and the manufacturer. "

Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann explains: “With 'Hawk' we can venture into new simulation worlds in key sectors of our country, in mobility, mechanical engineering and the health sector. One of the fastest computers in a public institution worldwide, which is also open to industry, is a wise investment in the future of our science and business location. There is also great potential in climate simulation. The work at the HLRS is of enormous importance not only for Baden-Württemberg: 'Hawk' strengthens both the nationwide supercomputer association and Europe, as the HLRS is helping to set up four of the ten European centers of excellence, among other things. "

Science Minister Theresia Bauer explains: “The subject of high-performance computing stands for rapid developments. As fast as the top performance of supercomputers increases, so are they crucial for top research as well as for innovative products and processes in key areas of the economy. When it comes to supercomputing, Baden-Württemberg is a European leader and internationally competitive. The HLRS as part of the University of Stuttgart plays a key role in this. And it is not only the impressive computing power of the supercomputer, but also the concentrated methodological knowledge on site that helps our computer-aided cutting-edge research to produce breathtaking research results. "

The high-performance computing center of the University of Stuttgart (HLRS) was founded in 1996 as the first federal high-performance computing center in Germany. As an institution of the University of Stuttgart and a member of the Gauss Center for Supercomputing, the HLRS makes its computing capacities available to users from science and industry.

Do you want to work in the Stuttgart area? Then we have suitable vacancies on our job exchange.

Read more about supercomputers here:

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A contribution by:

  • Sarah Janczura

    Sarah Janczura is content manager and responsible editor for ingenieur.de. After an internship with a focus on social media, she worked as an online editor in a digital agency. She writes about technology, research and career topics.