LRZ-Newsletter Nr 3/2020 of March 5, 2020

The LRZ-Building in Garching

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Excellent Data Transport

This is really bad luck: Because of the corona virus, this year's Supercomputing in Asia was cancelled. A working team from the Gauss Supercomputing Centre (GSC) was to be honoured during the conference on High Performance Computing (HPC) in Singapore at the end of February. Data management and transfer specialists from the three data centres in Garching, Jülich and Stuttgart jointly developed a system for the data mover competition for the efficient transfer of large amounts of data. "For Delay Tolerant Networking, the 'Team GCS' improved the data transfer rate by integrating the UFTP file transfer protocol and received the prize for the most systematic approach," the organizers announced.

The Data Mover competition is regularly announced at SC in Asia and is looking for innovative solutions for data transfer in HPC worldwide. The team around Jochen Buchholz, employee of the Stuttgart HRLS, had three days to send files of different sizes with a total volume of one terabyte via the specified network architecture of SC Asia. In addition, questions of a jury had to be answered.

Together more than just the task solved

In its work, the GSC team encountered general problems in the SC Asia network and was even able to assist the Competition Committee in troubleshooting. For the actual task, the specialists experimented with the Unicore File Transfer Protocol, a tool from the Jülich Supercomputing Centre. This made it possible to make full use of the network's 100 gigabytes of bandwidth and to transport all data not only within the Germany-wide GSC network but also internationally. "We are very pleased with the prize," says Buchholz, commenting on the result. "As the data sets become larger and more complex, the exchange of best practices with other leading HPC organizations is valuable. This way we can ensure that researchers spend less time transferring and more time analyzing their data".

Also honored were the development and data teams of the National Institutes of Informatics in Japan for the most innovative solution, the International Centre for Advanced Internet Research in Chicago for the fastest solution, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency for its experimental design. Unfortunately, the trophies must now be sent by mail. (vs)

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"We understand only details about earthquakes"

Dr. Alice-Agnes Gabriel, mathematical seismologist By combining different numerical models, Alice-Agnes Gabriel and her team at the SuperMUC-NG of the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) were able to gain new insights into the tsunami puzzle of Palu/Indonesia: Not (only) landslides on the steep bank triggered the giant wave, but fast cracks on the seafloor and the narrow tectonics of the narrow bay contributed significantly. The geophysicist, who teaches and conducts research as an academic councillor at the chair of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich (LMU), will be awarded the PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for this and other computer-aided earthquake scenarios during the EuroHPC Summit at the end of March. "Dr. Alice-Agnes Gabriel uses numerical simulations combined with experimental observations to improve our understanding of the physics underlying earthquakes," said Núria López, Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of PRACE, explaining the selection. "Their work covers wide scales and can improve our knowledge of these natural phenomena and protect us from their consequences". Although she herself enjoys studying rock formations, Gabriel specializes in numerical and mathematical problem solving in seismology, making High Performance Computing (HPC) part of her everyday life. A conversation about women in science and the future of supercomputers.

What does the Ada Lovelace Award mean to you?

Dr. Alice-Agnes Gabriel: A great deal, because firstly, the award is presented across all disciplines and shows all disciplines in which high-performance computing supports science. In geophysics and geology, many colleagues are still afraid of contact, and do not yet dare to tackle supercomputers and large data projects. Secondly, it makes women visible in areas where they are unfortunately still underrepresented. As a seismologist, I combine geophysics and HPC and rarely come across female colleagues.

What about women in geophysics?

Gabriel: At the beginning there were six of us among 180 students in physics. But things have changed: Now it is not difficult for me to find good women as doctoral candidates. At professorial level, the proportion of women in geophysics is still low, and even lower in areas like computer-aided seismology, where HPC, mathematics and mathematical problems are involved. Women have to prove their capabilities especially at the beginning of a research career. After the post-doc, it often becomes critical when you have to travel a lot, present and discuss your research and build networks. Little consideration is given to family or private life - the two-body problem emerges: Stays abroad are difficult to organise in a partnership when both want to pursue a career, and as a mother of small children you cannot always travel. In this phase, many women therefore drop out and go into industry. Luckily, I got my first long-term (but still temporary) position immediately after my post-doc and a lot of support from the Institute of Geophysics at LMU Munich. Networking and media in science are also changing and make many things easier: I now have to be less physically present, keep in touch with research colleagues worldwide via Twitter and get involved in discussions. I often manage the work on the SuperMUC-NG from home. Winning an ERC Starting Grant at the end of 2019 and now the Ada Lovelace Award changes a lot: I now suddenly have an individual office (laughs), I am perceived as a researcher at eye level and I am invited to many more projects.

How did you come to geophysics?

Gabriel: Through theoretical physics, semiconductors and materials science. I have already calculated large molecular simulations for these. Out of idealism and because I like to do something that benefits society, I came to geophysics. I am interested in earthquakes and the basic formations that trigger them. It is about similar questions as in material science. In geophysics we actually use simple equations, but these lead to complex results. We only understand details of earthquakes and have observations and measurements on very different scales. Seismology has always been a data-driven science, every observation brings data. Therefore I am now developing methods for solving numerical equations and mathematical models to bridge these scales and knowledge gaps. A major role is played by the integration of geometries, which are methodologically very demanding and with which existing observation data can be reinterpreted. Our solution of the Palu tsunami puzzle, for example, is based on a combination of mathematical methods for friction and the propagation of seismic and tsunami waves.

At the award ceremony, they will discuss the future of HPC and artificial intelligence at the EuroHPC Summit Week - what is your opinion?

Gabriel: Especially in the complex world of geophysics we can only gain new insights with modern methods. Our large model of the Sumatra earthquake and tsunami of Christmas 2004, which was calculated on the entire SuperMUC-NG, had 111 trillion degrees of freedom. In the future, we would like to calculate many such simulations in order to be able to consider uncertainties as well. At the same time, artificial intelligence is on the advance, not only to filter interesting geophysical signals from background noise in increasingly dense measurement networks, but also to improve mathematical methods.

And what do you wish for your personal future?

Gabriel: I would like to see many more exciting challenges at the interface between supercomputing and geophysics - but I'm not worried about that, we're just getting started. (vs)

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Secure IT Services for Europe's Researchers

Securely granting discounts with InAcademia: "The service helps to check whether a person is studying or working at a university or research institution, explains Michael Baierlein, employee of the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) in Garching and member of a GÉANT team that tested and optimised the IT service. Companies such as or the Dutch National Library can use InAcademia to find out which buyers can buy textbooks or software cheaper.

Pan-European development work

InAcademia is the latest offering from GÉANT and an example of the countless IT and online services that the pan-European network has been providing for research and teaching in Europe since 2000. GÉANT currently unites 26 national science networks, including the German Research Network (DFN), is also behind Education Roam or Eduroam and cooperates with the European Open Science Cloud. In early February, InAcademia was launched during the GÉANT Symposium in Ljubljana: 250 IT specialists met in Slovenia, five participants were sent by the LRZ to this working event, during which the next development steps of GÉANT were discussed in 15 discussion sessions, six technology presentations and 21 workshops, and the necessary tasks were assigned to scientific computing centres and research institutes.

Solving security issues for research

"As a participant in DFN, the LRZ is involved in GÉANT", reports Michael Schmidt, LRZ employee from network planning. "Security has arrived as an important topic at GÉANT, from individual projects it has developed into a separate field of activity." GÉANT ensures the exchange of data with its own firewalls and methods for identification and secure data exchange. In addition, the attitude towards the cloud has changed: "Virtual machines and cloud services were still the subject of much discussion until recently, but now they are rethinking. Services should rather be purchased from service providers than continue to develop them themselves," says David Schmitz from the GÉANT team at the LRZ. The Garching-based company is helping to set up a firewall on demand and new identification procedures, for example, or is helping to turn ideas into prototypes.

Established in 2000, GÉANT is driving forward the digitisation of European science. In his opening speech in Ljubljana, Andreas Veispak, a member of the European Commission staff responsible for digital infrastructures, therefore emphasised their importance: "GÉANT, according to Veispak, also enables efficient research work and rapid data exchange among scientists with the European Open Science Cloud. This accelerates the dissemination of knowledge and solutions to problems. At  June, 8, 2020 the GÉANT Community will meet again in Bristol, and the work on it-services for researchers will go on. (vs)
The European Researchnetwork GEANT

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A Wireless Network for Sensors

Mounting the radio antenna of the Low Range Network Range of the LRZ-LoRaWAN in a map At the Technical University of Munich (TUM), at the Chair for Computer Architecture and Parallel Systems, they electronically observe a seminar room: light barriers and sensors measure when how many people are in it. In this way, students practice handling sensors, data, machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT), which networks devices and machines and in which data from the most diverse areas of life ends up. This in turn makes it possible to predict, for example in the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science building, when the seminar room will be particularly busy.

Collecting data from rooms

Space control is just a start. Professor Michael Gerndt, a specialist in IoT, estimates that many more projects on the Garching campus will soon be based on sensor data. For this reason, the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) has just installed a wireless gateway on the roof of its computer cube, which sets up a Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) for sensor data and transmits it to the open The Things Network (TTN). "A good thing," says Gerndt. "So far, we've set up our own gateways for data transmission." The LRZ-LoRaWAN supplies the entire Garching campus: "It is open to the public and facilitates the use of mobile sensors," explains Helmut Heller, PhD physicist and research associate at the LRZ. "We gain experience with the technology in order to develop services for the customers of the LRZ".

25 billion networked devices expected

Machines, cars, containers - according to IoT Analytics, 9.5 billion devices worldwide are already networked online with the help of sensors, and this number is expected to grow to more than 25 billion by 2025. Not counting smartphones or laptops. Not only computer scientists are experimenting with IoT, the natural sciences are also equipping animals, plants and even people with sensors. "The importance of low-power wide-range networks is growing, for example in the recording and monitoring of wildlife, soil conditions and water quality," explains Gerndt. "We are working with the Indian Institute of Information Technology, where start-ups are already developing new business models based on IoT technology. We are focusing our work more on the architecture and management of cloud and edge-based infrastructures in the Internet of Things environment".

Contact over 40 Kilometres

The antenna on the roof of the LRZ contains an eight-channel gateway with omnidirectional characteristics and picks up signals up to a distance of 40 kilometres. For comparison: The standard Bluetooth transmits up to 10 meters, typical Wireless Area Networks (WLAN) up to 30 meters. "Wireless networks need energy, but cables are not suitable for recording data from nature or moving goods," says Heller. "LoRa radio technology transmits them with little energy, so systems can get by for a very long time without changing batteries". The online service shows LoRaWAN gateways worldwide - meanwhile also the LRZ gateway. Questions about the LRZ-LoRaWAN are answered by Helmut Heller: <>. (vs)

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Virtual Journeys through the Solar System

Virtual travelling through the cosmos. Foto: DLR Zooming in on Mars, exploring the structure of the Moon, planning space missions: CosmoScout VR is the name of the new software for astrophysics and geophysics which makes all this possible and which Professor Andreas Gerndt from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) presented at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in mid-February. For this purpose, CosmoScout VR builds up our solar system as a three-dimensional virtual space through which researchers and interested parties can float with the help of virtual reality glasses and explore planetary constellations and moons as if they were travelling through real space.

Challenges in visualizing the universe

For ten years Gerndt, habilitated computer scientist and specialized in the graphical representation of scientific data, and his team "Software for Space Systems and Interactive Visualization" worked on CosmoScout VR. As Gerndt reported, they have solved several challenges in several stages: CosmoScout VR can now process several terabytes of data from heterogeneous sources, and this with graphics cards that are actually unable to handle them. The open source software is also capable of integrating further research data and models and thus recording space and its developments in even greater detail. Gerndt's team has also managed to represent planets and systems as spheres in different resolutions and to compensate for the distortions associated with this. With CosmoScout VR, scientists glide through space without interruption, can zoom in on things of interest to them and analyze them interactively.

Virtual planning and research aid

CosmoScout shall help to plan the use of space observation technologies or space missions and anyway to better understand and explain the formation and decay of planets in our solar system. As open source software CosmoScout VR now supports science and can be further developed for own research purposes: fascinating prospects.

If you want to know more about the latest software developments or research results from physics, natural, geo and life sciences or medicine: The LRZ regularly invites scientists from different research areas to its premises. This newsletter informs about upcoming dates, of events scheduled at short notice you can find out about <@LRZ_DE> on Twitter. (vs)

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More Coolness for Supercomputers

Since 2011, the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre  (LRZ) has been relying on hot water to cool its supercomputers. The waste heat generated in this process heats the corridors and offices, at least in winter, but with the help of special equipment it could help to cool storage systems, network components and more technology through which no water can or may flow, with cold air: This is why the ArKtIK research project, which the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding for 2.5 years, will start in March.

Adapt and Improve adsorbers

ArKtIK stands for Adsorption Cooling Technology for Information Technology Cooling. Partners in the project are computer manufacturer Megware, the operator of data centres Cloud&Heat and Invensor, a specialist in adsorber technology. The aim of ArKtIK will be to adapt adsorber technology to lower temperatures and to make it easier to combine the devices with computers.

"Normally, adsorption chillers are designed for temperatures above 70 degrees Celsius, in data centers they are below 60 degrees," explains Michael Ott, computer scientist and employee at the LRZ. "Adsorbers work with three water circuits, which also have to be connected, which increases the installation effort". Compact devices built into computer racks offer alternatives. However, existing technology still needs to be adapted and further developed. (vs)

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Workshop und Events

Searching datas. Foto: E. Vittoriosi/Unsplash Until 30 March 2020, scientists who are committed to an open European Internet and who are working on infrastructures and technologies related to open search are invited to submit papers, discussion and concept papers, presentations for the second International Open Search Symposium (OSSYM). The organiser of the international event is the Open Search Foundation, to which the Leibniz Computing Centre also belongs. In Garching, the specialists are mainly concerned with FAIR research data that are findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. The specially developed Data Science Storage of the LRZ is a contribution to open search. The OSSYM symposium will take place on May 25th to 27th in Geneva.

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Working with ANSYS

ANSYS is a package of more than 20 applications for engineers and scientists. At the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre, CFX and Fluent in particular are used very often to display and calculate flow properties of liquids or gases. A five-day workshop from 16 to 20 March will therefore focus on these programs and their use in a Linux cluster. Dr. Barbara Neuhierl from CADFEM, an IT service provider from Grafing, and Thomas Frank from the LRZ will explain to students, lecturers and interested parties how they can work with ANSYS and solve their own research questions.

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Semantic Patching with Coccinelle

Coccinelle is a valuable tool to check programming in C code or to find and eliminate bugs and errors. On a training day on March 24, 2020, participants will learn how to use Coccinelle, how to identify patterns that indicate errors and how to extract all the benefits from the program for efficient, well-performing code. The last available places will be allocated as a result of the registrations.

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Security Day 2020

Data mishaps in companies, where customer data is lost or becomes public, are now part of everyday life: But what can users learn from this for their daily use on the Internet? This is a question that will be discussed during Security Day 2020 on 26 March 2020 at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ). Natalie Vogel and Eda Seval, who coordinated the certification of the LRZ, show that the standardization of processes also serves security and data protection. Other presentations will deal with the quality and sensitivity of data and the measures that users themselves can take to protect their privacy. The Security Day is organized by the LRZ in cooperation with the Munich universities and the Gesellschaft für Datenschutz und Datensicherheit (GDD). Participants of the Munich scientific network, the members of the GDD-ERFA-Kreis Bayern and other interested parties are invited. Registration is requested.

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Data Protection Day 2020

The data protection laws in Europe and Germany, which have been in force since 2018, not only sensitize companies and consumers to the importance of data, they also attract a lot of international attention. But how do companies implement data protection in their processes in practice? At the Data Protection Day on 27 March 2020 at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ), practitioners and lawyers will provide information. Stefan Metzger, Natalie Vogel and Eda Seval from the LRZ will demonstrate that the standardization of work processes for ISO certifications also includes practicable measures for data protection. Brigitte Frey, Data Protection Commissioner of the City of Munich, reports how the Bavarian metropolis implements data protection in its departments and what experiences employees have with it. The Data Protection Day is organized by the LRZ, the Munich universities and the Gesellschaft für Datenschutz und Datensicherheit (GDD) and is aimed at data protection officers and interested parties with previous legal knowledge. Participation is free of charge, registration is requested.

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Girl's Day

To interest young women in technology and tasks related to information technology, digitisation and computing is the aim of the nationwide Girl's Day on 26 March 2020, which will also be attended by a group of schoolgirls from the eighth grade onwards at the Leibniz Computing Centre (LRZ). They will be introduced by female staff to the many areas of activity at the computing centre, take a look at the SuoerMUC-NG and be introduced to the art of photogrammetry - the three-dimensional creation of images from photographs. More information about Girl's Day on the internet. Registration online .

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Big Data and Machine Learning

The requirements and challenges of data analysis, large data and machine learning research projects are the subject of a series of workshops and seminars at the Leibniz Computing Centre (LRZ). During four training days from April 14th to 17th, beginners and advanced students and researchers learn how to use the supercomputers at the LRZ and other systems of the LRZ and how to structure and program their tasks efficiently. Registration will be possible soon on our course website. Please note the mentioned requirements when registering. Questions about this training series will be answered by Dr. Johannes Albert-von der Gönna <,> and the lecturers, who will soon be available on the course webpages.

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Introduction to Hybrid Programming

Most HPC systems are clusters of shared storage nodes. In this two-day PRACE course on April 20 and 21, 2020, organized by the LRZ in cooperation with the HLRS, the RRZE and the VSC (Vienna Scientific Cluster), participants will learn how to program applications using the Message Passung Interface (MPI) language for these systems. The course will show the strengths and weaknesses of parallel programming models on clusters of SMP nodes, with special emphasis on multi-socket multicore systems in highly parallel environments. Most importantly, the handling of MPI, version three is on the agenda. Numerous case studies and micro benchmarks demonstrate the performance-related aspects of hybrid programming.

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Programming FPGA

Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA) can be freely programmed and in many cases accelerate multi-core systems when processing the largest data volumes from research and industry. FPGA can be connected directly to processors, memory, networks and numerous other interfaces. This two-day workshop on April 23rd and 24th, 2020, which is offered by the LRZ in cooperation with Intel, gives participants an overview of FPGA, explains their technology and how to use these accelerators. Lectures are combined with practical exercises to familiarize participants with OpenCL programming FPGA.

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Excel Compact

Excel is the program for creating tables for calculating data and much more. Lecturer Klaus Leschhorn will introduce the versatile utility program at the LRZ from April 28 to 30, 2020. Participants will learn how to use the application windows, the basics of editing tables, how to format cells and much more. The continuation of the compact course will take place at the beginning of May. Registrations are required for both courses.

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Standards for Interfaces

The eighth International Workshop around the interfaces OpenCL, SYCL, Vulkan and Spir-V, called IWOCL, will take place from 27 to 29 April at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) in Garching. The mentioned interfaces accelerate and optimize the integration of applications on graphics processors (GPU) or accelerators. They will be important for the development of the next generation of high-performance computers. Computer specialists and engineers will discuss solutions for standardization during the workshop.

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Job Opportunities

An international and diverse team is looking forward to new colleagues: The Leibniz Supercomputing Centre is growing and is regularly looking for computer specialists, employees and student assistants. Interns and trainees are also very welcome. You are welcome to inform yourself about your new opportunities on the computer centre's career pages or send us your unsolicited application. Currently the following positions are open at the LRZ:

Attention - the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) still has vacancies for interns during the Easter holidays. If you know a daughter, son, nephew, grandchild or friend who likes to deal with technology and would like to take a look behind the scenes of a scientific computing centre, please recommend the holiday internship. More information and the application form are online.

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More to Read

Here you will find links to the latest information from the German and European supercomputing community and our cooperation partners:

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Informations about the Newsletter

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Leibniz-Rechenzentrum der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
Boltzmannstraße 1
D-85748 Garching bei München
Editorial Office:
DLR, LRZ, E. Gellner,

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