NREL Acquires Next-Generation High-Performance Computing System, Kestrel

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has selected Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to build its third-generation, high-performance computing (HPC) system, called Kestrel.

Named after a falcon with sharp eyesight and intelligence, Kestrel’s moniker is appropriate for its mission – to rapidly advance the Department of Energy’s research and development (R&D) efforts to deliver transformative energy solutions across the United States.

The installation of the new system will begin in the fall of 2022 in NREL’s Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) data center. Kestrel will complement the laboratory’s current supercomputer, the Eagle, during the transition. When completed – in early 2023 – Kestrel will accelerate energy efficiency and renewable energy research at a pace and scale more than five times that of Eagle, with approximately 44 petaflops of computing power.

Eagle enables R&D breakthroughs across multiple programs within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE); these breakthroughs are a promising preview of achievable progress with the long-awaited Kestrel.

As the dedicated HPC system for EERE, Kestrel will play a crucial role in data processing across the research portfolio, promoting research in computational materials, continuum mechanics and large-scale simulation and planning of future energy systems. Rapidly advancing applications and technologies in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning promote innovation and the expansion of research into new directions for computing. These workflows drive complementary physics and data-driven approaches by merging simulation with new sensor data sources. Kestrel’s heterogeneous architecture – which includes both CPU-only and GPU-accelerated nodes – is designed to enable these new workflows, enabling EERE and industry partners to tackle the energy challenges of moving into a sustainable and sustainable future.

Years of collaboration in the HPC domain means that NREL and HPE are ready to carry out the Kestrel rollout successfully, beginning in the fall of 2022.

HPE will build Kestrel using the HPE Cray EX supercomputer with design features that are fully compatible with the hot water waste heat recovery system currently used in NREL’s ESIF data center.

Kestrel will be composed of a balanced capacity of the next generation of Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors (codenamed “Sapphire Rapids”) and NVIDIA A100NEXT Tensor Core GPUs to accelerate AI. The system will also include HPE Slingshot, an Ethernet substance to handle higher speed and overload control for larger data-intensive and AI workloads. With high-speed connectivity that connects more than 75 petabytes of parallel file system storage using HPE’s Cray ClusterStor E1000, users will be empowered to tackle complex, data-centric workflows and immerse themselves in interactive data analytics visualizations.

With the Kestrel HPC system on the horizon, NREL remains ready to continue to deliver critical energy efficiency and renewable energy progress with its HPC-supported capabilities.

Article lent by National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Photo by Sachin Nihcas from Pexels

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