At the beginning of January the signatory process of a new implementing agreement under EFDA was launched. Under this agreement, the EFDA member Forschungszentrum Jülich – one of the world’s leading supercomputing centres – shall construct and operate a new supercomputer for fusion research. The computer, known as HPC-FF, or “High Performance Computing for Fusion” – will provide computing power of approximately 100 teraflop/s and is ideally suited for the simulation codes used by fusion scientists. FLOPS (Floating Point Operations Per Second) is a measure of the speed of a computer system. A Pentium-4 processor in a PC, for example, can reach around six gigaflops, which is roughly 20 000 times slower than HPC-FF.

The supercomputer will help us to understand the complex physical effects taking place inside JET, ITER, and future fusion power plants. HPC-FF will be closely linked to the Jülich 200-teraflop system, JuRoPA, so that, if required, fusion researchers are able to access a total of 300 teraflop/s computing power. Scientists will soon have a much better opportunity to develop computer simulations capable of reproducing the important physical effects more realistically than is possible as yet. Supercomputing is indispensable, for instance, when it comes to understanding the turbulent processes which determine the extraction of energy from the plasma at the material surfaces of the first wall of the vacuum chamber.

HPC-FF is being funded by the European Commission (EURATOM), the member institutes of EFDA and Forschungszentrum Jülich. The installation will be inaugurated in early summer this year. The use of the computer is coordinated under EFDA. All EFDA member institutes will have access to the machine. An HPC-FF Board supervises the operation and selects the best proposals for using the computer. A high-level support team will be formed to support code development in the European Fusion Community.

Ralf P. Schorn