Chalmers University Selects Lenovo and Nvidia to Build Sweden’s National Supercomputer

Chalmers University of Technology uses Lenovo and Nvidia’s technology infrastructure to power its large-scale computing resource, or supercomputer, Alvis.

The project has led to the delivery and implementation of a clustered computing system for artificial intelligence and machine learning research, in what is Lenovo’s largest high-performance computing cluster for AI and ML in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

Alvis – Old Norse meaning “all-wise” or “all-knowing” – is a national supercomputing resource within the Swedish National Computing Infrastructure (SNIC).

It initially started in 2020 and has since evolved into a capacity that solves larger research tasks on a larger scale. Funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and provided by Lenovo, the computer system is located at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, home of the EU’s largest research initiative, Graphene Flagship.

The collaborative project will allow any Swedish researcher who needs to improve their mathematical calculations and models to benefit from Alvis’ services through SNIC’s application system, regardless of the field of research.

This will support researchers who are already using machine learning to analyze complex problems, and those who are exploring the use of machine learning to solve problems within their respective fields, with the potential to lead to groundbreaking academic research in areas such as quantum computing and data-driven research for healthcare and science.

Noam Rosen, EMEA Director, HPC and AI at Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group, said: “The Alvis project is a prime example of supercomputing’s role in solving humanity’s greatest challenges, and Lenovo is both proud and excited to be selected as part of it.

“Supported by Lenovo’s industry-leading technology, Alvis will drive research and leverage machine learning in many different areas with a high impact on societal development, including environmental research and drug development.

“This compute resource is truly unique, built on the premise of architectures for various AI and machine learning workloads with sustainability in mind, helping to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions by leveraging our groundbreaking hot water cooling technology.”

Sverker Holmgren, director of Chalmers e-Infrastructure Commons, host of the Alvis system, says: “The first trial source for Alvis has already been used by more than 150 research projects at major Swedish universities.

“By making it much bigger and opening up the Alvis Systems completely to all Swedish researchers, Chalmers and Lenovo are playing an important role in providing a national HPC ecosystem for future research.”

Chalmers chose to deploy a scalable cluster with a variety of Lenovo ThinkSystem servers to deliver the right mix of NVIDIA GPUs to its users in a way that prioritizes power savings and workload balancing.

This includes the Lenovo ThinkSystem SD650-N V2 to deliver the power of Nvidia A100 Tensor Core GPUs, and the Nvidia-certified ThinkSystem SR670 V2 for Nvidia A40 and T4 GPUs.

Rod Evans, EMEA director of high-performance computing at Nvidia, said: “The work we’re doing with Chalmers University and its Alvis national supercomputer will give researchers the power they need to simulate and predict our world.

“Together, we’re empowering the scientific community with tools to solve the world’s biggest supercomputing challenges — from forecasting the weather to discovering drugs.”

The storage architecture will deliver a new 7.8 petabyte Ceph solution to be integrated into Chalmers’ existing storage environment.

Nvidia Quantum 200 Gb/s InfiniBand equips the system with low latency networks, high data throughput and smart in-computing acceleration engines.

With these high-speed infrastructure capabilities, users have nearly 1000 GPUs, mainly Nvidia A100 Tensor Core, including more than 260,000 processing cores and more than 800 TFLOPS of computing power to get a faster time to answer in their research.

In addition, Alvis leverages Lenovo’s Neptune liquid cooling technology to deliver unparalleled computing efficiency. Full air cooling was initially proposed for the project, but Chalmers decided to use Lenovo Neptune hot water cooling instead to reduce long-term operating costs and result in a “greener” AI infrastructure system.

As a result, the university expects significant energy savings due to efficiency through water cooling.

The HPC solution has been in production since February 2022 and will be fully operational in the summer of 2022.

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