Keeping a cool head on super computer


Keeping a cool head on super computer. Photo: DTU

At the Danish Technical University Risø, one of the world’s most powerful computers has its home. It is used in Danish and European healthcare research. Grundfos pumps keep it cool.

It’s not something, you’ll pay particular attention to, if you don’t know its secret. To the untrained eye, it’s just small, grey utility houses. Inside, however, one of Denmarks largest super computers can be found. Actually, one of the 100 most powerful in the world.

It holds large amounts of data, which are used in healthcare research in Denmark and Europe. It has the capability of handling 7.5 petabyte of data. In comparison, all American research libraries combined research takes up 2 petabyte of data. Working with data in such quantities, can heat up even the most powerful of computers, so in order to make sure all systems run at optimum standards, a specially designed cooling system has been developed.

“The entire installation has been designed, making it easily scalable. Each component as for instance heating pump and cooling machine has its own controls. The advantage of building it that way is that we can replace the controls in a single component without interfering with the remaining parts of the installation,” says Esben Højrup, engineer at DTU Risø, who has played an important part in specifying the system.

“This gives us the opportunity of scaling the installation as our need change. Because of this we have started with the exact amount of pumps, which fit our current need,” he continues.

Reliable pumps in the right scale
For now, six Grundfos pumps cool the computer. The pumps in question are TPE Series 2000, which send cooling water into the system.

“They were chosen because of their variable frequency drive, which measures the differential pressure across the pump. DTU Risø can control the pumps on basis of pressure, and because of this they only use the energy necessary to keep the processes running,” explains Søren Nickel Christensen, sales engineer at Grundfos.

Esben Højrup, who explains that it is the super computer’s cooling system, which control how much water is pumped in, seconds him:

“The cooling machines always run with a pressure, which is a little lower than needed, meaning there’s always ‘supplementing work’ for the pumps, which draws water to the computer, creating the final pressure,” he says and adds that he is happy about his choice of Grundfos pumps.

“I saw a product which fitted our setup. And I’ve been happy about the Grundfos pumps we have in operation in other places. The pumps fulfills our needs completely – also in relation to the fact that we want to control them as autonomous units,” he says.

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