Mont-Blanc Project

Montblanc Logo

Energy efficiency is already a primary concern for the design of any computer system and it is unanimously recognized that future Exascale systems will be strongly constrained by their power consumption.

Since October 2011, the aim of the European project called Mont-Blanc has been to design a new type of computer architecture capable of setting future global HPC standards, built from energy efficient solutions used in embedded and mobile devices. This project is coordinated by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and has a budget of over 14 million, including over 8 million Euros funded by the European Commission. Two years later, the European Commission granted additional 8 million Euro funds to extend the Mont-Blanc project activities in the project Mont-Blanc 2 until January 2017.

Improving the energy efficiency of future supercomputers is one of LRZ’s main research goals. Also, Hardware prototyping of novel architectures has proven to be successful for the technology watch preceding the selection of large supercomputers. Yet, advances in hardware are only justified if the need for programmability and thus the productivity of application development is still satisfied. Therefore, LRZ’s contribution to Mont-Blanc is twofold: application experts successfully ported BQCD, an application from the field of quantum chromodynamics to the new system and analysed the productivity of the platform based on ARM processor technology and the OmpSs programming model compared to traditional computer architectures and programming models. On the hardware side, LRZ’s computer architecture experts are responsible for system monitoring. In particular the fine-grained power measurements of the Mont-Blanc system require additional scalability of the system monitoring which the LRZ-developed monitoring solution provides.


Nominated for the Best Paper Award at SC16.

Events and Conferences

SC16, November 13 – 18 2016, Salt Lake City (UT) / United States

ISC’16, June 19 – 23 2016, Frankfurt/Germany

Co-hosted EMiT (Emerging Technologies) Conference, June 2-3, 2016, Barcelona, Spain

European HPC Summit Week, May 9 – 12 2016, Prague / Czech Republic


Rajovic, Nikola, et al: The mont-blanc prototype: an alternative approach for HPC systems. In:  Proceedings of SC16. The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis. IEEE Press. Nov. 2016. ISBN: 978-1-4673-8815-3.

Fast Facts

Project Duration

1/10/2011 – 30/06/2015 (Mont-Blanc)
1/10/2013 – 31/01/2017 (Mont-Blanc 2)

Contact person

Dr. Daniele Tafani

Funding agency

European Commission FP7


Partner Institutions

  • Bull
  • ARM
  • Allinea
  • Jülich Supercomputing Centre
  • CNRS
  • Barcelona Supercomputing Center
  • University of Bristol
  • CEA
  • HLRS
  • Universidad de Cantabria