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Germany has a long history in the field of supercomputing, starting as early as 1979 with the first Cray on the continent. In 1983/84 many well-known universities and research centres bought a vector supercomputer, Cray 1's and Cyber 205's. In 1985 service centres and the automotive industry bought vector machines for engineering applications. Mostly they used Cray machines as there was a broad spectrum of application software available, especially the newest versions of Nastran and Pamcrash.

In the nineties the industry is engaged in parallel vector processors - because of the available optimised software packages, while research and universities started ``massively'' parallel processing but with only a small number of processors. Now some industrial users installed parallel systems but one have to analyse the application field very carefully. At debis an IBM SP2 will be used for SAP R3, as a workstation cluster and not only for computational intensive numerical simulation.

Looking at the list for Germany, only 51 machines could enter the TOP500 list with an Rmax of 148 Gflop/s, 6% of the world-wide, 11% of the American or 21% of the Japanese share. In 1994 the most powerful computer in Germany at DLR is number 61 in the world list or 10 in the European list. In December last year at ZIB in Berlin a 192 processor T3D has been installed that is not included in the 1994 list. It will be extended to a 256 processor system later this year.

Research institutes use 18 computers with 67 Gflop/s (45% of Germany), Academic 17 machines and 52 Gflop/s (35%) and industry 13 computers but only 23 Gflop/s (16%). The classified and the vendor machines only have the small fraction of 4%. Even in Germany you can notice that the average Rmax performance of a machine in Research Institutes has an Rmax of 3.7 Gflop/s, Academic 3.1 but industry only 1.8.

Even in 1994 Cray Research is the market leader with a total of 16 machines (including 3 T3D) and 39 Gflop/s (26%), followed by SGI with 10 systems and 23 Gflop/s (16%) and SNI with 6 computers but 26 Gflop/s (18%). As in 1994 more powerful computers entered the list, the small KSR machines had to leave. It is only a matter of time that the KSR and TMC machines will disappear from the German market with actually four machines and 16 Gflop/s.

Convex started a good business with its parallel machine SPP1000, two are in the 1994 list, but an other 48 processor systems has been installed at University Mainz and an 8 processor machine (one Hypernode) at the Bundesanstalt fuer Strahlenschutz. So Convex is no longer selling low-performance minisupercomputers.

Parsytec as a German company has done a good job, in total they have sold 8 parallel machines in 1994, four of them in Germany, two to Northern Europe, one to Italy, Japan and to British Aerospace. The switch from pure Transputer machines to the combination of PowerPc and Transputers seem to be successful.

In Germany some new trends are recognisable, at the universities many small MPP systems are installed with only a limited number of processors. For example there are Convex SPP1000 with 16 or 48 processors, T3D's with 32, IBM SP2 with 48, Intel 72, SGI 16. Only ZIB with 196 T3D processors, KFA Juelich with an Intel Paragon with 140 and some Parsytec GC PowerPlus with 128 are the biggest parallel systems in Germany, in respect to the number of high-speed processors. The machines with 1024 processors in Cologne and Paderborn are less powerful Transputer-based systems with an Rmax of 0.97 Gflop/s and have left the 1994 list.

The other trend is, to establish one or more German Supercomputer Centres. As the cost for these systems are still growing, a co-operation of academic and industrial centres is appropriate. The first was announced end of last year by the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg. The county Baden-Wuerttemberg, the University of Stuttgart, debis Systemhaus (Daimler-Benz Interservices) and Porsche form a company to establish the supercomputer centre in Stuttgart. The county and the university will keep a 50% share, debis 40% and Porsche 10%. The county will invest 15 Million DM, the Federal Republic of Germany will add the same sum for the first stage, for the second stage Baden-Wuerttemberg will pay about 20 Million DM, the same sum is expected from FRG. Industry will invest powerful computers and a guaranteed computer usage, worth 40 Million DM, and the industrial know-how. As the environment and the infrastructure are to be built up only once, there are big savings on governmental and industrial side. This co-operation is expected to give synergy effects between research and industry. Debis Systemhaus will sell the computing time to other interested companies and will do marketing activities.

A comment on debis, it is serving computer time to all members of the Daimler-Benz group, that is AEG, Daimler-Benz, DASA (German Aerospace) and Mercedes-Benz. Debis helds the most powerful industrial supercomputer centre in Germany, in Stuttgart a Cray C94/4256, a Cray YM-P M92/2-256, an IBM SP2/8 and in Munich a Cray Y-MP2E/264 that means a total of 6 Gflop/s. As the 2-processor Crays Y-MPs are no longer included in the TOP500 list, debis is not a member of the TOP25 European supercomputer centres.

In Germany the company ZIAM (Centre for industrial application of massively parallelism) was founded in Northrhine-Westfalia and for some years funded by the government. Its task is to promote parallel systems and the technology of parallel processing. in industry. It has access to a 1024 processor Parsytec Transputer system and has installed the new GC PowerPlus with 32 processors.

The automotive industry in Germany is well equipped with vector-parallel computers, Audi, BMW, VW and even EDS (Opel) that installed a Cray C90 this year. In the chemical industry there is a trend to SGI Power Challenge. Bayer AG uses its Cray C92 not for research in chemistry but for the simulation of chemical processes. Two SGI Challenges are used for financial applications.

In the meantime the big Research Centres have installed those machines that have been announced in the last report. Some SGI machines are operating in research and academic environments. It is expected that this figure will rise, as now SNI is selling these machines too. After the financial breakdown of KSR, SNI needed a new partner in the parallel arena. The KSR 2 was removed this year from Leibniz Computer Centre in Munich and is installed in the computer centre of University of Mannheim. This computer centre will now enter the European TOP25 list as number 21 or 22.

next up previous contents
Next: United Kingdom Up: High Performance Computing in Previous: Architectures and Applications
Tue Nov 14 15:20:45 PST 1995