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SuperMUC Petascale System

SuperMUC is the name of the high-end supercomputer at the Leibniz-Rechenzentrum (Leibniz Supercomputing Centre) in Garching near Munich (the MUC suffix is borrowed from the Munich airport code). With more than 241,000 cores and a combined peak performance of the two installation phases of more than 6.8 Petaflop/s (=1015 Floating Point Operations per second), it is one of the fastest supercomputers in the world.

System purpose and target users

SuperMUC strengthens the position of Germany's Gauss Centre for Supercomputing in Europe by delivering outstanding compute power and integrating it into the European High Performance Computing ecosystem. With the operation of SuperMUC, LRZ will act as a European Centre for Supercomputing and will be a Tier-0 centre for PRACE, the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe. SuperMUC is available to all European researchers to expand the frontiers of science and engineering.

Figure: SuperMUC Phase 1 and Phase 2 in the computer room.

System Configuration Details

LRZ's target for the architecture is a combination of a large number of thin and medium sized compute nodes with 32 GByte (Phase 1) and 64 GByte (Phase 2) of memory, respectively, and a smaller number of fat compute nodes with 256 GByte memory. The network interconnect between the nodes allows excellent scaling of parallel applications up to the level of more than 10,000 tasks.

SuperMUC Phase 1 consists of 18 Thin Node Islands based on Intel Sandy Bridge-EP processor technology, 6 Thin Node Islands based on Intel Haswell-EP processor technology and one Fat Node Island based on Intel Westmere-EX processor technology. Each Island contains more than 8,192 cores. All compute nodes within an individual Island are connected via a fully non-blocking Infiniband network (Phase 1: FDR10 for the Thin nodes of Phase 1, FDR14 for the Haswell nodes of Phase 2 and QDR for the Fat Nodes). Above the Island level, the pruned interconnect enables a bi-directional bi-section bandwidth ratio of 4:1 (intra-Island / inter-Island). In addition, SuperMIC, a cluster of 32 Intel Ivy Bridge-EP nodes each having two Intel Xeon Phi accelerator cards installed, is also part of the SuperMUC system. .

Technical data

Installation PhasePhase 1
(decomissioned end of 2018)
Phase 2
(decomissioned end of 2019)
Installation Date2011201220132015


Fat NodesThin NodesMany Cores NodesHaswell Nodes
SystemBladeCenter HX5IBM System x iDataPlex dx360M4IBM System x iDataPlex dx360M4Lenovo NeXtScale nx360M5 WCT
Processor TypeWestmere-EX
Xeon E7-4870 10C
Sandy Bridge-EP
Xeon E5-2680
Ivy-Bridge and Xeon Phi 5110PHaswell Xeon Processor E5-2697 v3
Nominal Frequency [GHz]2.42.7 1.052.62
Performance per core4 DP Flops/cycle =
9.6 DP GFlop/s
2-wide SSE2 add +
 2-wide SSE2 mult
8 DP Flops/cycle =
21.6 DP GFlops/s
4-wide AVX add +
4-wide AVX mult

16 DP Flops/cycle =
16.64 DP GFlops/s
8-wide  fused multiply-adds every cycle using 4 threads

16 DP Flops/cycle =
41.6 DP GFlops/s
two 4-wide fused multiply-adds

Total Number of nodes2059216323072
Total Number of cores8,200147,4563,840 (Phi)86,016
Total Peak Performance [PFlop/s]0.0783.20.064 (Phi)3.58
Total Linpack Performance [PFlop/s]0.0652.897 n.a.2.814
Total size of memory [TByte]52288 2.56194
Total Number of Islands118 16
Typical Power Consumption [MW]< 2.3 ~1.1
Nodes per Island205512 32512
Processors per Node42

 2 (IvyB) 2.6 GHz + 2 Phi 5110P

Cores per Processor108 8 (IvyB) + 60 (Phi)14
Cores per Node4016 16 (host) + 120 (Phi)28
Logical CPUs per Node (Hyperthreading)8032 32 (host) + 480 (Phi) 56
Memory and Caches
Memory per Core [GByte]
(typically available for applications)
 4 (host) + 2 x 0.13 (Phi)2.3
Graphical representation of processor topologywestmere.pngsandbridge.pnghost.png
Size of shared Memory per node [GByte]25632 64 (host) + 2 x 8 (Phi)

(8 nodes in job class big: 256)

Bandwidth to Memory per node [Gbyte/s]136.4102.4 Phi: 384137
Level 3 Cache Size (shared) [Mbyte]4x302x20
Level 2 Cache Size per core [kByte]256256 Phi: 512256
Level 1 Cache Size [kByte]3232 3232
Latency Access Memory [cycles] / Bandwidth per core [GB/s]
~160 /8.8
~200 / 6.7
Level 3 Latency [cycles] /BW per Core [GB/s]
~ 30 / 31
36 / 39

Level 2 Latency [cycles]1 /BW per Core [GB/s]

12 / 42
12 / 92

Level 1 Latency [cycles]1 /BW per Core [GB/s]

44 /130
4 / 343
TechnologyInfiniband QDRInfiniband FDR10Infiniband FDR10 Infiniband FDR14
Intra-Island Topologynon-blocking Treenon-blocking Tree
Inter-Island TopologyPruned Tree 4:1n.a.Pruned Tree 4:1
Bisection bandwidth of Interconnect [TByte/s]12.5
Login Servers for users2715
Size of parallel storage (SCRATCH/WORK) [Pbyte]15
Size of NAS storage (HOME) [PByte]3.5 (+ 3.5 for replication)
Aggregated bandwidth to/from parallel storage [GByte/s]250
Aggregated bandwidth to/from NAS storage [GByte/s]12
Capacity of Archive and Backup Storage [PByte]> 30
System Software
Operating SystemSuse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)
BatchsystemIBM Loadleveler
Parallel Filesystem for SCRATCH and WORKIBM GPFS
File System for HOMENetApp NAS
Archive and Backup SoftwareIBM TSM
System ManagementxCat from IBM
MonitoringIcinga, Splunk

1:Latency is much longer, if data are also in L1 or L2 of other core.
2: With each new processor line, Intel introduces new architecture optimizations.

The design of the “Haswell” architecture acknowledges that highly-parallel/vectorized applications place the highest load on the processor cores (requiring more power and thus generating more heat). While a CPU core is executing intensive vector tasks (AVX instructions), the clock speed may be reduced to keep the processor within its power limits (TDP). In effect, this may result in the processor running at a lower frequency than the “base” clock speed advertised for each model. For that reason, each “Haswell” processor model is assigned two “base” frequencies:

  • AVX mode: due to the higher power requirements of AVX instructions, clock speeds may be somewhat lower while executing AVX instructions
  • Non-AVX mode: while not executing AVX instructions, the processor will operate at what would traditionally be considered the “stock” frequency

Figure: Schematic view of SuperMUC Phase1

SuperMUC Phase1 and Phase2 are only loosely coupled through the GPFS and NAS File systems, used by both Phase 1 and Phase 2. It is not possible to run on single job across Phase1 and Phase2. The scheduling and job classes of Phase1 and Phase2 are different. However, Phase1 and Phase2 share the same programming environment.

Figure: Schematic view of SuperMUC Phase1 + Phase2.

Energy Efficiency by Warm Water cooling

SuperMUC uses a new, revolutionary form of warm water cooling developed by IBM. Active components like processors and memory are directly cooled with water that can have an inlet temperature of up to 40 degrees Celsius. This "High Temperature Liquid Cooling" together with very innovative system software cuts the energy consumption of the system up to 40%. In addition, LRZ buildings are heated re-using this energy.

Why "warm" water cooling?

Typically water used in data centers has an inlet temperature of approx 16 degrees Celsius and, after leaving the system, an outlet temperature of approx. 20 degrees Celsius. To make water with 16 degrees Celsius requires complex and energy-hungry cooling equipment. At the same time there is hardly any use for the warmed-up water as it is too cold to be uses in any technical processes.

SuperMUC allows an increased inlet temperature. It is easily possible to provide water having up to 40 degrees Celsius using simple "free-cooling" equipment as outside temperatures in Germany hardly ever exceed 35 degrees Celsius. At the same time the outlet water can be made quite hot (up to 70 degrees Celsius) and re-used in other technical processes - for example to heat buildings or in other technical processes.

By reducing the number of cooling components and using free cooling LRZ expects to save several millions of Euros in cooling costs over the 5-year lifetime of the system.

Storage Systems

SuperMUC has a powerful I/O-Subsystem which helps to process large amounts of data generated by simulations.

Home file systems

Permanent storage for data and programs is provided by a 16-node NAS cluster from NetApp. This primary cluster has a capacity of 3.5 Petabytes and has demonstrated an aggregated throughput of more than 12 GB/s using NFSv3. Netapp's Ontap 8 "Cluster-mode" provides a single namespace for several hundred project volumes on the system. Users can access multiple snapshots of data in their home directories.

Data is regularly replicated to a separate 4-node Netapp cluster with another 3.5 PB of storage for recovery purposes. Replication uses Snapmirror-technology and runs with up to 2 GB/s in this setup.

Storage hardware consists of >3,400 SATA-Disks with 2 TB each, protected by double-parity RAID and integrated checksums.

Work and Scratch areas

For high-performance I/O, IBM's General Parallel File System (GPFS) with 12 PB of capacity and an aggregated throughput of 250 GB/s is available.