Picture of a super computer. It is not the super computer placed at DTU Risø Campus

16,768 cores in the new super computer at DTU Wind

Friday 12 Oct 18
by Tom Nervil


Peter Hauge Madsen
Head of Department
DTU Wind Energy
+45 46 77 50 01


Dalibor Cavar
Senior Researcher
DTU Wind Energy
+45 46 77 50 17

Far more complex calculations are required to achieve reliable knowledge about wind conditions. DTU Wind Energy is therefore bringing in a new supercomputer to ensure that the research remains at the cutting edge.

A high-performance DKK 20 million computer will soon become part of tomorrow’s infrastructure at DTU Wind Energy. High performance is exactly what is required in the coming years when researchers need to make faster and more complex calculations of the wind’s movements compared to those being carried out today.

“Denmark and DTU lead the way within wind energy because we always have been involved in driving developments,” says Head of Department at DTU Wind Energy, Peter Hauge Madsen. 

“We intend to continue in this role,” he says resolutely. 

Increased competition
In recent years, China has positioned itself at the top of the list of countries with supercomputers, just as China also generates most wind energy.

“There probably isn’t a direct connection, but it’s clear that investing in research and infrastructure is paramount if we want to stay on top. The new supercomputer is part of this strategy,” says Peter Hauge Madsen.

DTU already has a supercomputer for wind calculations. It has been at Risø since 2014. Back then it was no. 80 on the GREEN TOP 500 list of the world’s biggest ‘green’ computers (theoretical performance vs effective power consumption). But as we all know, developments in computer technology are moving forward at a staggering pace, and the cost of powering the current computer accounts for a significant chunk of its total costs. In the intervening period, high-performance computer suppliers have been able to significantly increase the performance per watt, so there are good reasons for replacing the existing machine.

More calculation power needed
DTU researchers are already engaged in projects which are computer-demanding, however they cannot be completed on the current supercomputer.

“In one project, which involves mapping wind conditions in Europe, we want to link mesoscale and microscale models. The calculation capacity here is of the order of 100 million CPU hours. However, this is twice as much as the annual capacity of our present system,” says Dalibor Cavar, Senior Researcher at DTU Wind Energy.

The present high-performance supercomputer system is made up of 320 machines with 20 cores in each, i.e. 6,400 CPU core processors linked together in a single network.

Dell will be delivering the new supercomputer, which will primarily be used for wind energy research using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) calculations.

"We are in the process of planning the installation, which will consist of a total of 524 servers with a total of 16,768 cores,” says, Michael Rasmussen Head of section, Research IT at DTU.