The Flatiron Institute taps Lenovo-Intel systems for HPC-AI workloads

The Flatiron collaboration marks an extension of the partnership between Intel and Lenovo in the data center.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Lenovo and Intel on Wednesday shared how they've worked with the Flatiron Institute in New York to build large-scale computing clusters that step up the organization's high performance computing (HPC) and AI capabilities. Using Lenovo-Intel systems, researchers at the institute can expand their research into biological sciences, astrophysics, quantum physics, and computational mathematics.

The Flatiron collaboration marks an extension of the partnership between Intel and Lenovo in the data center. The two companies have committed to a multi-year plan cultivate the convergence of HPC and AI solutions. 

The Flatiron Institute in New York City is the internal research division of the Simons Foundation, which aims to advance research in mathematics and the basic sciences. Since the institute's Scientific Computing Core supports work across disciplines, it requires HPC infrastructure that can handle a variety of extremely large data files, from giant genomic sequencing files to 100,000 small files in a single directory.

To enable this research, the institute built an on-site cluster with Lenovo ThinkSystem SD530 Dense Rack servers running  Intel Xeon® Platinum 8268 processors. The servers leverage Lenovo's Neptune Thermal Transfer Module (TTM) technology. All told, the cluster includes 17,000 Intel computing cores. Thanks to the additional RAM available with each node, the supercomputer cluster has 4-5X more memory than a typical HPC farm. 

"Reading a 200 GB genomic sequencing file for a biology project or making 11,000 connections to other nodes for an astrophysics project requires a lot of memory," Dr. Ian Fisk, Scientific Computing Core co-director at the Flatiron Institute, said in a statement. "Now, when a researcher comes along with an interesting challenge that their equipment doesn't support, we can achieve that."

Lenovo and Intel are longtime partners in the data center. Their extended partnership focuses on three areas: systems and solutions, software optimization for HPC and AI convergence and ecosystem enablement.

"We see high-performance computing and artificial intelligence as the keys to unlocking an entirely new era of untapped potential for customers," Scott Tease, general manager for HPC and AI at Lenovo's Data Center Group, said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Lenovo laid out ambitious plans to scale its data center group, including plans to roll out new HPC technologies. 

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