Interview by Laura Hofschlag originally published at JOBVERDE

Forschungszentrum Jülich has been dealing with solving social issues and the challenges of our time since it was founded in 1956. The mission of over 7,000 members of staff is to shape change – especially in the research fields of information, bioeconomy and energy. The staff at Forschungszentrum Jülich also include many female scientists. This is still not a matter of course. A survey by the Federal Statistical Office from 2019 shows that the EU average for female scientists in companies only amounted to 21 percent. Why is the proportion of women so low, what do prejudices have to do with this and how will their role develop in the future?

These are questions that Sabrina Schwarz from the Equal Opportunities Bureau can answer. In the following interviews Yulia Arinicheva also reveals what everyday work at Forschungszentrum Jülich actually looks like. Yulia obtained her doctorate at the Institute for Safety Research and Reactor Technology and is currently occupied with solid state batteries.

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Pure studies are simply too theoretical for many people. This is also how Marie felt. Back when she chose her bachelor course, she opted for a dual study programme for applied mathematics and computer science at the Aachen University of Applied Sciences, which included vocational training as a technical software developer at Forschungszentrum Jülich. But it didn’t stop there: she liked the combination of theory and practice so much that she started a position as software developer at the Institute of Energy and Climate Research in addition to her master’s studies. There she is busy gathering data for her current project and investigating how energy management can be made as efficient as possible on the campus of the research centre.

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von Imke Rhoden and Andrew Ross

The European Union is challenged with increasing global consumption, growing pressure on resources as well as the uncertainty of critical raw materials. Coupled with the goal to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 there is an urgent need to decouple economic growth from resource use and to ensure a swift transition to circular solutions.

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Text by Prof. Dirk Pleiter, research group leader at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC) and professor of theoretical physics at the University of Regensburg.

Prof. Dirk Pleiter Bild: FZJ

Being a person, who had the opportunity of being involved in the design of special-purpose processors, any new process architecture for high-performance computing (HPC) is fascinating. As of today the market for server processors, which can also be used for supercomputers, is dominated by a single architecture, namely the x86 architecture, for which solutions are provided mainly by Intel but also AMD. For supercomputers becoming more powerful in the future, more competition for better (and cheaper) solutions is needed. The situation is already changing: The new pre-exascale computer Summit, which has been deployed in the US and is currently the world’s fastest supercomputer according to the Top500 list, uses an alternative processor from IBM based on the POWER architecture. In Europe, where the European Commission is about to fund the development of a European server processor, the focus is on the ARM processors, i.e. yet another alternative architecture.

Whether new architectures making it to supercomputers is not only a question of technical excellence. New products also have to find a market that is sufficiently large. Only by selling a large number of processor, new money becomes available to develop the next generation of the product. A supplier for the vastly evolving HPC market needs to be able to provide new, innovative products within a few years.

As a scientist, I have not experience in business development, but I can nevertheless help to help companies to cooperate on developing a market for ARM-based products. The result is the “Open Edge and HPC Initiative”, which finally went public today.

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Prof. Dr. Dirk Pleiter is research group leader at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC) and professor of theoretical physics at the University of Regensburg. At JSC he is leading the work on application oriented technology development. He has played a leading role in several projects for developing massively-parallel special purpose computers, including QPACE.


Forschungszentrum Jülich is mourning the passing of Professor Peter Grünberg. The Nobel laureate in physics and scientist of Forschungszentrum Jülich passed away last week in Jülich at the age of 78.

Peter Grünberg.

Peter Grünberg (1939 – 2018)
Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich

“The news of Peter Grünberg’s passing has filled all of us at Forschungszentrum Jülich with great sadness. Our thoughts are with his family. We have lost an outstanding scientist who set standards worldwide in the field of solid state research. It is no exaggeration to say that Peter Grünberg and his discovery of the giant magnetoresistance effect have dramatically changed all our lives. Without him, modern computers and smartphones as we know them today would be inconceivable. Peter Grünberg was not only an excellent researcher, but above all an esteemed and all-round popular colleague. He remained loyal to Jülich for more than 45 years and we will miss him greatly. Forschungszentrum Jülich will honour his memory, not least through the institute bearing his name – the Peter Grünberg Institute,” said Professor Wolfgang Marquardt, Jülich’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, in a tribute to the Nobel laureate.

We would like to give you the opportunity to share your memories of Peter Grünberg and to offer your condolences on this page.

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Interview with Dr. Sarah Genon on a new approach to discover “operational functions” of brain areas

Seeing doesn’t necessarily mean understanding. This brief notion is perhaps the best way of describing the problem that drives many researchers in the field of neuroscience. When imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging emerged in the 1990s, it appeared to be just a matter of time until we understood how speech is processed, sentences formed, and recollections stored in our short- and long-term memories. However, the current estimations of many scientists paint a much more sober picture. To date, hardly any concept from the fields of psychology, philosophy, or sociology can be clearly assigned to biological processes and structures in the brain.

Sarah Genon Quelle: privat

Neuroscientist Dr. Sarah Genon, who conducts research at Forschungszentrum Jülich and University Hospital Düsseldorf, even speaks of a “conceptual chaos”. Within the European Human Brain Project, she heads a subproject concerned with the multimodal comparison of brain maps. Together with Prof. Simon Eickhoff, Prof. Katrin Amunts and other neuroscientists from Forschungszentrum Jülich and University Hospital Düsseldorf, Genon is proposing a new approach that could enable the analysis of large data sets and help to considerably further this area of research in the long run.

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Text and pictures by Andreas Herten

Last week, we hosted the first GPU Hackathon of 2017. It was a super intense week full of programming and discussing. It was great coding fun!

The GPU Hackathons (at times also OpenACC Hackathons) are workshop-like events happening around the world. Five of them are planned in 2017 – and the first one was at Jülich Supercomputing Centre last week. Organization is coordinated by Fernanda Foertter from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who also joins the Hackathons to guide through the week.

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By Igor Dal Bo

I was very excited when I discovered that I was to go from Jülich to Chile for my research. And here I am! I feel privileged at having the opportunity to work surrounded by this amazing natural environment, especially as I have been travelling a lot since I have been here. That’s necessary anyway, since I’m collecting data in four national parks for my research. From the Atacama Desert to the monkey puzzle trees in Nahuelbuta’s pristine forests, the landscape changes at every turn.

Igor Dal Bo und eine Chilenische Empanada

Igor Dal Bo with a Chilean empanada Quelle: privat

And what is better after a long work day than enjoying a typical Chilean empanada – a special type of stuffed bread – sitting on the seaside admiring the sunset while listening to the relaxing sound of the ocean waves crashing on the shore? If I get the chance to pay Chile another visit, I will definitely go for it!



Igor Dal Bo is a Doctoral researcher at the Institute of Bio- and Geosciences, Agrosphere (IBG-3). He has been spending five weeks in Chile working within the German-Chilean research initiative “Earthshape”, funded as a priority research programme by the German Research Foundation (DFG). He is investigating weathering profiles using geophysical methods like GPR, EMI, and ERT, aiming to correlate them with geochemical proxies.

Text and pictures by Andreas Herten

aherten-img-sc_logoFrom Friday, 11 November, until Saturday, 19 November, I traveled to Salt Lake City for the Supercomputing Conference (fully: the international conference of high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis, but everyone either calls it the Supercomputing or even only SC16). SC is the largest conference for all things supercomputing (and then some). Every year, it is held in a different city in USA. About 12 000 people visit the conference each year1 – and Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC) does so as well.

Actually, Jülich’s involvement is two-fold (at least).



First off, JSC always has a booth on the exhibits floor. The floor hosts a large exhibition in which different vendors from industry, universities, academic institutions, and other supercomputing-related projects showcase their offerings. Being a long-time attendee and one of the largest supercomputing centres in Europe, JSC has quite a prominent booth, which it shares with RWTH Aachen and the DEEP project this year. We present our supercomputing systems, current research and projects, and tools we develop. For instance LLview, a tool to visualize the load of our supercomputers. Also, our new Human Brain Project PCP systems have a display wall.

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