Academic Computer Centre Cyfronet AGH ACK Cyfronet AGH
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  • Helios from Cyfronet AGH in 3rd place on the world's Green500 list of most energy-efficient supercomputers

Helios from Cyfronet AGH in 3rd place on the world's Green500 list of most energy-efficient supercomputers

During the ISC High Performance 2024 international conference, held this week in Hamburg, new lists of the Top500 and Green500 - the world's fastest and most energy-efficient supercomputers - were announced. The fastest computing machine in Poland officially became Helios from the Academic Computer Centre Cyfronet AGH.

For the first time in the history of Polish computer science, as many as 4 supercomputers from one centre - from ACC Cyfronet AGH, made it to the prestigious TOP500 list.

In addition, Helios ranked 3rd on the Green500 list of the most energy-efficient supercomputers. So far, no Polish system has managed to get so high!

Supercomputers make it possible to perform calculations in a matter of hours or days that would take many years using single computers. Helios will carry out several hundred research projects annually for scientists from all over Poland, including in the fields of chemistry, physics, materials engineering, energy, medicine, biology and artificial intelligence. Helios was built as part of a project under the Intelligent Development Operational Program, so its computing power can also be used commercially by the economy. Cyfronet has been the leader of the National HPC Competence Centre since 2021 as part of an international project led by the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking, which aims to build competencies in computing and artificial intelligence and facilitate access to computing resources for scientific entities, public administration and businesses, with particular emphasis on SMEs and startups. One of the mechanisms for supporting SMEs are short Proof-of-Concept projects that will be implemented at Helios to demonstrate the possibilities of using supercomputers in business.

Helios has 35 PFLOPS of theoretical computing power, more than 108,000 computing cores, 460 TB of RAM and 18 PB of disk system capacity, which together offer performance of nearly 2 TB/s. Its installation was completed in December 2023 as a result of work carried out in the National Supercomputing Infrastructure for EuroHPC - EuroHPC PL project coordinated by Cyfronet. The supercomputer was built to Cyfronet's design by Hewlett-Packard Enterprise based on the HPE Cray EX4000 platform and consists of three computing partitions:

  1. CPU equipped with 75,264 AMD Zen4 computing cores and 200 TB of DDR5 RAM,
  2. GPU equipped with 440 NVIDIA Grace Hopper GH200 Superchips, and
  3. INT for interactive work, equipped with 24 NVIDIA H100 gas pedals and high-speed NVMe local storage.

All supercomputer components are interconnected by a 200 Gbps Slingshot network. The HPE Cray EX4000 platform on which Helios is built is also used in the construction of the fastest supercomputers in the world (Frontier) and in Europe (LUMI). The system's CPU and GPU partitions are liquid-cooled, which makes it possible to achieve a very low PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness), resulting in increased energy efficiency and lower operating costs. In addition, the heat recovered in this way can be used for heating.

Helios made its debut on the Top500 list, which has presented the world's 500 fastest supercomputers since 1993, in November 2023, when its CPU partition was ranked 291st with preliminary performance test results. In the current edition of the list, the system is in as many as two positions. Helios's GPU partition was ranked 55th, and its CPU partition was ranked 305th. The division into two separate positions is due to the desire to showcase the full capabilities of each computing partition by using specially optimized versions of the benchmarks, created as a result of Cyfronet's experts' cooperation with HPE, NVIDA and AMD. The computing power of Helios corresponds to the speed of about 50,000 modern laptops, or the computing power of a fairly large city.

A huge success is the receipt of the result of the measurement of the energy efficiency of Helios' GPU partition, which placed it third on the Green500 list. At the same time, it is worth noting that the systems from Germany and the UK in the positions preceding the Polish supercomputer are much smaller than it. This means that Helios is the most energy-efficient supercomputer in the top 100 of the TOP500 list. Energy efficiency is now one of the most important metrics used to evaluate new supercomputers, as it directly affects the cost of operating such machines, which require a huge amount of electrical power - in the case of the world's fastest computers, this is as much as 30 MW, which translates into huge annual electricity costs. Such high energy efficiency means that Helios offers more computing power for every kilowatt hour consumed than less efficient systems, so calculations using it are not only cheaper than other machines, but also have less impact on the environment.

The TOP500 list included 8 supercomputers from Poland (theoretical computing power in parentheses):

# 55 - Helios GPU (30,44 PFLOPS) - ACC Cyfronet AGH
# 76 - Proxima (23,32 PFLOPS) - PSNS IBCh PAS
# 80 - Lem (20,37 PFLOPS) - WCNS WUST
# 154 - Kraken-Fregata (10,02 PFLOPS) - CI TASK GUT
# 177 - Athena (7,71 PFLOPS) - ACC Cyfronet AGH
# 250 - Altair (5,88 PFLOPS) - PSNC IChB PAN
# 305 - Helios CPU (3,35 PFLOPS) - ACC Cyfronet AGH
# 442 - Ares (3,51 PFLOPS) - ACC Cyfronet AGH

Access to most of the supercomputers on the above list, as well as to the fastest supercomputer in Europe, LUMI, is provided through the PLGrid infrastructure (

Helios supercomputer

Athena supercomputer

Ares supercomputer

Nawojki Data Center

Podole Data Center