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.

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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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