The University of Stuttgart has ordered two supercomputers from HPE for its High Performance Computing Center (HLRS).

The two systems, called Hunter and Herder, will cost €115 million ($127m), and take the HLRS up to exascale level in two stages by 2027, leading to a massively parallel GPU-accelerated system.

Hunter and Herder exascale stuttgart Michael Resch (Director, HLRS), Anna Steiger (Chancellor, University of Stuttgart) and Heiko Meyer (Chief Sales Officer, HPE)
Michael Resch (Director, HLRS), Anna Steiger (Chancellor, University of Stuttgart) and Heiko Meyer (Chief Sales Officer, HPE) – HLRS

"The expansion will strengthen Stuttgart's outstanding position in computer simulation and artificial intelligence research," explains Professor Wolfram Ressel, Rector at the University of Stuttgart. 

The systems will be used for simulation, artificial intelligence (AI), and high-performance data analysis, within computational engineering and applied science.

Hunter, a transitional supercomputer based on HPE's Cray EX400, will begin operation in 2025, replacing HLRS’s current flagship supercomputer, Hawk, and taking HLRS from its current peak performance of 26 petaflops, to 39 petaflops,

It will have 136 HPE Cray EX4000 nodes, each with four HPE Slingshot high-performance interconnects. Hunter will also use the next generation of Cray's ClusterStor storage system.

Hunter will begin the move away from CPU processors, adding in more energy-efficient GPUs. It will be based on the AMD Instinct MI300A accelerated processing unit (APU), which combines CPU and GPU processors, with local unified memory the processors can access quickly.

As well as boosting performance, Hunter will use 80 percent less energy than Hawk, the University says.

Herder, a true exascale system, will arrive in 2027. It is projected to provide speeds on the order of one quintillion (1018) flops. Its final architecture will use accelerator chips but won't be fully determined till the end of 2025.

The €115 million budget will be jointly funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the State of Baden-Württemberg's Ministry of Science, Research, and Arts, through the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS), which is an alliance of Germany's three national supercomputing centers.

Elsewhere in Germany, the GCS is funding the Jupiter supercomputer at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre which, 2025, is scheduled to be Europe's first exascale system in Europe in 2025. The Leibniz Supercomputing Centre is planning an exascale system for widescale use in 2026.

The move to GPUs will save power, says the University. "Energy efficiency with optimal support for cutting-edge science is of paramount importance for us at the University of Stuttgart," said Anna Steiger, Chancellor at the University of Stuttgart.

"With Hunter and Herder, we are responding to the challenges of reducing CO2 emissions, while also enabling both improved computing power and outstanding energy performance."

"As part of the University of Stuttgart, HLRS has a key role to play — it is not just the impressive performance of the supercomputer but also the methodological knowledge that the center has assembled that helps our cutting-edge computational research to achieve breathtaking results, for example in climate protection or for more environmentally sustainable mobility," said Petra Olschowski (Baden-Württemberg Minister of Science, Research, and Arts).