Feeds

IBM's new water-cooled supercomputer fires up

Oh it warms the heart. And other bits

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Aquasar, a new water-cooled IBM supercomputer, has just been fired up at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

It’s a 6-Tflop system that uses 33 two-way blades with Cell processors and an additional nine blades with dual Nehalem processors, all contained in three of their BladeCenter H Chassis. Two of the three chassis are water-cooled, covering 22 of the Cell boards and six of the Nehalem-based blades. What’s kind of cool (so to speak) is that they are using the waste heat to feed an estimated 9 kW of thermal power into the building’s heating system. This is pretty innovative stuff.

They’re using chip-attached water blocks and circulating ‘hot’ water through the system – hot being defined as 60 degrees Celsius (140°F) input and 65°C (149°F) output temperatures. I’m assuming that the liquid isn’t coming from a chiller (or it’s coming from a really crappy one), so the output line is going through a heat exchanger and giving up its warm payload to the liquid that circulates through the rooms to keep the chill off.

I’ve often asked engineering types why waste heat from the data center isn’t reused, and the answer I’ve received is that the output temperature of the air (in traditionally cooled data centers) is too low and can’t easily be concentrated enough to provide a payoff. With an output temperature of 65°C/150°F from liquid cooling, it’s a different game – that’s definitely hot enough to do something with, I would think.

And Switzerland is a place that could use some heat, as I discovered during one trip in January when I paused for a moment near Lake Geneva and almost froze to the ground. In addition to heating buildings and perhaps Switzerland itself, I can also see boiling eggs and cooking pasta as key use cases.

If you’re interested in a few more details, here’s the press release, but be warned that it’s chock-full of carbon talk and a bit light on technical and return-on-investment details. I recently did a webcast with a liquid cooling expert from 3M (here) and am looking to schedule another one, so if any of you have liquid cooling-related questions you’d like me to ask him, let me know. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*
$%%&amp Oh dear, we've been cut *CLICK* Well hello *CLICK* You're breaking up...
AMD's 'Seattle' 64-bit ARM server chips now sampling, set to launch in late 2014
But they won't appear in SeaMicro Fabric Compute Systems anytime soon
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Microsoft builds teleporter weapon to send VMware into Azure
Updated Virtual Machine Converter now converts Linux VMs too
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.