Flemish supercomputer with 3.3 petaflops of computing power is called Hortense

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The Flemish Supercomputer Center has given its new supercomputer a name. The machine, which can deliver 3.3 petaflops of peak performance, is named after the ‘human computer’ Nicole-Reine Lepaute, born in 1723, nicknamed Hortense.

Hortense performed heavy astronomical calculations and was thus able to accurately predict the arrival of Halley’s Comet. According to Ghent University, where the supercomputer will be placed, this is now seen as one of her greatest achievements, but the story says a lot about the undervaluation of women in science. Her contribution to calculating the comet’s movements was ‘forgotten’ in the first publication.

The supercomputer, which will be operational by the end of this year, was announced in the summer. It is a so-called tier1 system built by Atos, based on the BullSequana XH2000 platform. It uses AMD EPYC 7H12 processors with 64 cores.

Hortense will receive a total of more than 44,000 CPU cores, more than 32 terabytes of RAM, 88 Nvidia Ampere GPUs with 40GB hbm2 each, more than 100TB of flash storage and 4PB ‘long-term storage’. The peak performance would amount to 3.3 petaflops, which the university expects to achieve a place in the top 500 list of supercomputers. The system will be upgraded again in 2022.

The HPC-UGent team will maintain and manage the supercomputer. The computing power is available for all Flemish universities. Researchers can submit applications to use Hortense through the Flemish Supercomputer Center.

Hortense supercomputer (five racks) Content
98x BullSequana X2410 blades (294 nodes) AMD EPYC 7H12 CPUs, 256GB ddr4-3200 per node
14x BullSequana X2410 blades (42 nodes) AMD EPYC 7H12 CPUs, 512GB ddr4-3200 per node
20x BullSequana X2415 blades with Nvidia RedStone AMD EPYC 7H12 CPUs, 4x Nvidia A100-40 per blade
DDN EXAScaler ES7990X and SFA200NVX SAS and NVMe storage

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