High Performance Computing @ UL

Financement: University of Luxembourg
Date de début: 1 juillet 2007
Date de fin: 31 décembre 2020


The intensive growth of processing power, data storage and transmission capabilities has revolutionized many aspects of science. These resources are essential to achieve high- quality results in many application areas.

In this context, the University of Luxembourg (UL) operates since 2007 an High Performance Computing HPC facility and the related storage. The aspect of bridging computing and storage is a requirement of UL service – the reasons are both legal (certain data may not move) and performance related.

Nowadays, people from the three faculties and/or the three Interdisciplinary centers within the UL, are users of this facility. Obviously, many CSC members are relying on the platform to perform their research, as highlighted on the corresponding list of publications. More specifically, key research priorities such as Computational Sciences, Systems Bio-medicine (by LCSB) and Security, Reliability & Trust (by SnT) require access to such HPC facilities in order to function in an adequate environment.

The HPC facility is managed by an expert team under the responsibility of Prof. Pascal Bouvry and Dr. Sebastien Varrette. Composed by several clusters of compute nodes, the UL HPC platform has kept growing over time thanks to the continuous efforts of the UL HPC Team (S. Varrette, V. Plugaru, S. Peter, H. Cartiaux and C. Parisot). At the end of 2017, the facility consists of 5 clusters, featuring a total of 602 nodes (i.e. 8428 computing cores: 206 TFlops + 76 TFlops on GPU accelerators) and 7 PB of shared raw storage which are all configured, monitored and operated by 5 HPC specialists. This places the HPC center of the University of Luxembourg as one of the major actors in HPC and Big Data for the Greater Region Saar-Lor-Lux. In addition, a total of 130 servers are operated to pilot the HPC platform and the other deployed services for research such as Gforge and GitLab used by hundreds of researchers.

In these exciting times, the role of university-based HPC is more critical than ever in providing the foundation for a healthy HPC ”ecosystem” for Luxembourg, where computational scientists and HPC-service providers work together in a highly collaborative community. Through their locality to today’s research base, and the students who will become our next generation of computational scientists, universities such as the UL are uniquely positioned to deliver excellent return on investment in HPC as a platform for future economic growth.

From its reputation and national expertise in the HPC and Big Data domains, the University of Luxembourg (also member of ETP4HPC - European Technology Platform (ETP) in the area of High-Performance Computing (HPC)) has been chosen by the ministry to represent the country within PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe). This implements a new crucial step in the gouvernemental priority aiming at accelerating the development of world-class HPC technologies in Luxembourg.