The BASF Supercomputer "QURIOSITY"
When it comes to expediting digitalization at BASF, research and development play a key role. For example, to calculate the most promising polymer structure from thousands of possibilities, you need a high-performance computer with above-average computing power – just a supercomputer like our "Quriosity".
With a computing power of 1.75 petaflops (1 petaflop equals one quadrillion floating point operations per second), the new computer, called “Quriosity” following an online naming contest among employees, offers around 10 times the overall computing power previously available to BASF researchers. In the ranking of the 500 largest computing systems in the world, BASF’s supercomputer was number 65 in the meantime (June 2017 list). It took roughly one year from initial internal planning meetings to start-up.
Installing the supercomputer in Ludwigshafen involved reinforcing the floor in the server room, laying more than 1,000 network cables with a total length of 15 km as well as adding a separate water-cooling system, which can cool the supercomputer with 60,000 liters of water per hour. At full capacity, the supercomputer has an electricity consumption of roughly 600 kilowatts, generating significant waste heat in the process.
With the supercomputer, much more complex models are possible, in which significantly more parameters can be varied. This could not only result in substantially reduced development times, but also previously unknown relationships can be recognized and used to advance completely new research approaches.