Competence Center High Performance Computing

Fraunhofer-Institut für Techno- und Wirtschaftsmathematik ITWM

© Fraunhofer ITWM

Development and use of numerical simulation processes are the heart of the research at the Fraunhofer ITWM and the basis for all technically complex developments in industry. In many industry sectors the demand to solve increasingly large problems is strongly growing, e.g. in seismic exploration and the life sciences. At the same time, engineers and scientists want to work interactively and more efficiently to solve their problems. Large data driven problems and interactivity are the drivers that led us to Petaflop's computers, GPU Computing and are stimulating the discussion about accelerator technology and Exaflop computing. High Performance Computing deals with the challenges associated with the algorithmic development, the implementation and the execution of compute intensive problems on HPC hardware. It is therefore positioned at the intersection between mathematics, computer science and the applied sciences. In recent years a paradigm shift has taken place at this intersection, which has by and large still not entered into practice

Over more than 10 years the increase in compute speed has simply been gained through higher clock speed. Since 2005 the clock speed stays the same and additional performance can only be gained by higher hardware parallelism. Since then we see a competition for the highest number of cores. This change in direction on the hardware side has considerable consequences for the development of performance-hungry software. An increase in performance is now only to be attained through parallelization and as the floating point performance goes to infinity the data transport is the limiting factor and determines the way we develop and implement new algorithms today.

The Competence Centre for High Performance Computing addressed this paradigm shift at an early stage and brought innovative new software tools for the development of parallel software to the market. The heart of these tools are the Global Address Space Programming Interface GPI, which replaces the previous MPI programming model, and an efficient library for the development of complex multi-threaded programs, the multi-core thread package MCTP. Expanding on this, new parallel programming platforms are currently being developed for large parallel computer systems. The Seismic Development and Processing Architecture SDPA implements a fault-tolerant system where domain-specific applications are developed inside a high-level graphical user interface , while the SDPA framework takes care of an efficient parallelization and throughput optimization. The SDPA speeds up the development for new applications from scratch and it is made to integrate legacy software modules at the same time. The system is intended for large parallel systems and will be used initially in the oil industry.

In the BMBF project IMEMO the patented parallelization framework GraPA is being adapted to the requirements of future hardware systems including GPUs. GraPA automates the parallelization using a graph-based approach. The creation of innovative tools for the development of parallel applications will a remain the main field of activity of the department in the coming years.

Since 2005 FhGFS, a new Parallel File System has been ­under development at the ITWM. The development started from scratch, learning from the problems and hassles with ­existing systems. In 2008 the first official release of FhGFS was available from the website A series of smaller installations in the oil and gas sector have confirmed the reliability of the system and first large installations have been implemented at various universities

Fraunhofer seismic imaging software enters into production in oil industry The software packages GRT for angle domain migration and PreStack-Pro for visualisation, processing and analysis of pre-stack seismic data have fulfilled the high demands of our industry partners and are now in productive use by companies worldwide

In the scope of the ITWM Future topic “Renewable Energies” activities of various departments are bundled. The focuses of the work at the CC HPC are software systems which will manage distributed systems in electricity networks; see also

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