Introduction to HPC

High-performance Computing (HPC), at extreme scales called Supercomputing, enables breakthroughs by pushing out the boundaries of what is computationally possible. Today’s HPC systems and supercomputers combine classical simulation techniques with big data analytics and artificial intelligence to solve the most challenging problems in science, business, and society. HPC enables researchers to gain new insights, engineers to design more competitive and sophisticated products, as well as businesses to operate more efficiently and effectively. Even in sports, supercomputing helps optimising win strategies. HPC also gives guidance to decision makers and the public for addressing challenges like climate change or pandemic situations.
In the digitisation era, HPC has become an ubiquitous tool that is widely applied in a broad spectrum of fields, as shown in the following examples.

Climate change

Global warming and its effects on the
environment is one of the most urgent societal problems of today. Supercomputers allow us to simulate the future development of the earth’s atmosphere, oceans, ice and land cover at very high-resolution for understanding the local effects of climate change in various scenarios. In the project “Destination Earth”, the European Union has initiated the development of a “Digital Twin” of the Earth, a model of our planet on a
supercomputer simulating all relevant
natural and societal processes.

Global warming and its effects on the environment is one of the…

Fighting COVID

The unexpected appearance of the
SARS-CoV-2 virus triggered the global Covid pandemic. In record time, researchers and medical experts had to understand the virus as well as the dynamics of the infection and disease. The largest supercomputers today were deeply involved in deciphering the genome of the virus, studying its spike protein, understanding the infection process and the development of the Covid disease in the human body, as well as predicting the spreading
dynamics of the pandemic and the
effects of mitigation measures.

The unexpected appearance of the SARS-CoV-2 virus triggered the global Covid pandemic.…

Understanding the UNIVERSE

What is the nature of our cosmos? From the beginning, humankind asked themselves this question and strived for answers. Today, scientists rely on supercomputers for rolling back billions of years and travelling out to cosmological phenomena billions of light-years away. By unleashing the power of high-performance computing, they can study the formation of planets, stars and galaxies, can model the Big Bang, and retrace the
evolution of the distribution of visible
and dark matter in space.

What is the nature of our cosmos? From the beginning, humankind asked…

Simulating the Brain

Consciousness, the realisation of ourselves and
our existence, is one of the many mysteries of the brain. Our most complex organ enables some of the most unique human capabilities like language, reasoning, or creativity. Its amazing complexity however, also means that only the largest computers in the world are able to process observational data and model the neuroscientific processes. The European Union launched the Human Brain Project, a flagship programme, building the fundamental
scientific tools needed for understanding
the workings of the brain.

Consciousness, the realisation of ourselves and our existence, is one of the…

Green Energy

Carbon-free energy production is key for the
future of our economy. We can only sustain economic growth and simultaneously protect our natural resources and environment if we are able generate energy without carbon-dioxide emissions. Energy companies use supercomputers for optimising wind turbines and wind farms, while researchers are developing new materials on the computer for solar cells with higher efficiencies
and with lower production costs.

Carbon-free energy production is key for the future of our economy. We…

Cycling in a Peloton

We do fish swim in swarms and why do cyclists drive in the middle of pelotons with only few well-planned escapes? Supercomputer simulations of the dynamics of the air flow revealed that the energy needed by the cyclist is several times lower if racing in the middle of a peloton than when cycling alone. Similarly, simulations of water flow dynamics in combination with artificial intelligence methods demonstrated
that fish choose positions within a swarm
that minimises their energy effort by
harnessing the turbulences
caused by other fish.

We do fish swim in swarms and why do cyclists drive in…