Dare to Think the Impossible

The world is filled with mysteries, just waiting to be solved. PRACE provides access to some of the world's fastest supercomputers for scientists working on solving these mysteries. High performance computing (HPC) uses supercomputers to perform the complex simulations and calculations needed to make breakthrough discoveries that are changing our world – to ease hunger, produce clean energy, understand global warming, cure diseases, and even forecast natural disasters.

The possibilities are limited by only one thing. Your imagination.

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Imagine all the biggest instruments of science combined into one.

A telescope that lets us see the entire universe

A particle accelerator that lets us explore the quantum world of the very small

A reactor that lets us see the inside of stars

A “time machine” that recreates the past to help us predict the future

What is HPC?

HPC uses the world's fastest supercomputers to simulate models that are used to solve today's mysteries and enhance tomorrow's discoveries.

Using the world fastest supercomputers, researchers run experiments and simulations at petascale rates (1015 operations per second). First designed in the 1960s by Seymour Cray with only a few processors, they have evolved at a dizzying rate to become massively parallel supercomputers with tens of thousands of processors.

And they continue to get faster and faster. Today's supercomputers can run experiments and simulations at a rate of one or more Petaflops/s (one quadrillion operations per second!). By 2020, PRACE's network is expected to reach speeds of one Exaflops/s (one quintillion operations per second!).

As of November 2012, the Cray XK47 Titan supercomputer is the fastest in the world. Located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the United States, this supercomputer has no less than 560,640 processors! Three PRACE supercomputers, two at Germany's Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS) in J©lich and Garching, and one at the CINECA inter-university consortium in Bologna, Italy, rank among the world's top ten fastest supercomputers.


What are supercomputers used for?

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Supercomputers are used for highly calculation-intensive tasks. This includes most exciting research and simulations in astrophysics, engineering & energy, earth sciences & environment, medicine & life sciences, mathematics & computer science, and chemistry & materials. In universities and industry, supercomputers are being applied today to solve problems in quantum physics, weather forecasting, climate research, oil and gas exploration, molecular modelling, physical simulations, like simulating airplanes in wind tunnels, medical research and much much more.

Learn more about supercomputing:
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Overview of CS&E/HPC

Neuroscientific modeling, aerodynamics and weather simulations are a few of the applications of HPC.

HPC in Action

What is PRACE?

What is PRACE?

PRACE, the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe, is a pan-European network of supercomputers that is among the fastest in the world. With the help of PRACE, European scientists and engineers are solving science©s most difficult challenges. Today PRACE powers some of the most exciting research and simulations in astrophysics, engineering & energy, earth sciences & environment, medicine & life sciences, mathematics & computer science, and chemistry & materials.

Dare To Think The Impossible brochure (PDF)

Hosting Centre Architecture Speed
CURIE GENCI/CEA, France Bull Bullx cluster 2 Petaflop/s
HAZEL HEN GCS/HLRS Germany Cray XC40 7,4 Petaflop/s
Marconi CINECA Italy Lenovo 13 Petaflop/s
SuperMUC GCS/LRZ Germany IBM iDataPlex 3,2 Petaflop/s
JUQUEEN GCS/FZJ Germany IBM BlueGene/Q 5.87 Petaflop/s
MareNostrum BSC Spain IBM iDataPlex 1 Petaflop/s
Piz Daint CSCS Switzerland Cray XC50/XC40 7,8 Petaflop/s

PETAFLOP/s is expressed as a thousand trillion operations per second.

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This project has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007© 2013) under grant agreement n© 283493.

DISCLAIMER: Names of HPC vendors and brands in this website including videos are mentioned only as actors in HPC field and they have no commercial connection to PRACE.