Less than a year after its inauguration, work has already commenced on a system expansion on what was once Europe’s fastest supercomputer.

The performance upgrade for SuperMUC is due to be completed by the middle of 2015 at a cost of around 44 million dollars and will more than double the current peak performance of 3.185 petaflops, making it capable of 6.4 petaflops.

Professor Arndt Bode, chairman of the GCS centre Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) in Garching near Munich, where SuperMUC is located, also revealed that plans are already in place for a successor supercomputer capable of hundreds of petaflops. That computer is due to enter operation in 2016 or 2017.

SuperMUC was Europe’s fastest computer for six months after its inauguration until it was surpassed by “Jugene”, which is also located in Germany.

The SuperMUC upgrade involves the addition of 74,302 Intel-Xeon processor cores to the existing 155,656 processor cores, while the supercomputer’s main memory will be expanded from 340 to 538 terabytes.

One of SuperMUC’s most revolutionary features is a new form of warm water cooling developed by IBM, which results in energy savings of up to 50 per cent compared to air cooling systems. In addition, all LRZ buildings can be heated by re-using this energy.

The system has been working at full capacity since it came into operation. The applications running on SuperMUC range from calculating the origin of the universe, to geophysics, medicine and bioinformatics.

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