This is the first time that private businesses are given access to the university’s high performance computing (HPC) centre. “The service contracts have three main pillars: The companies are granted computing time in our HPC facilities, they can store the project-related data on our systems, and they have access to our HPC expert group,” explains Professor Pascal Bouvry, leading the university High Performance Computing service.

Analysing fire events in buildings

ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel and mining company, is headquartered in Luxembourg and also has an R&D centre located here. The company will use the HPC to perform numerical analyses of fire events in buildings. “The research center of Esch-sur-Alzette will use the supercomputer to conduct numerical simulations in the context of a European Research Project related to the characterisation of fire spread in open large-floor buildings,” explains Marion Charlier, Research Engineer in charge of Fire Engineering projects. “Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations will allow for a realistic perception of the complex phenomenon of smoke and heat transport from fires. The ultimate aim of the project is to improve the efficiency of structures in fire scenarios as well as enhancing safety. ArcelorMittal constantly invests to remain at the forefront of digitalisation and Global Research and Development will extend the use of supercomputer to other numerical applications.”

Virtual prototyping

The Ceratizit Group, a high-tech engineering group specialised in tooling and hard material technologies, will use its computing time to perform virtual prototyping of some of its key products through numerical simulation. The supercomputing capacity offered by the university will allow a more efficient usage of Ceratizit’s most advanced numerical models. “This will enable us exploring a wider range of solutions and ultimately delivering better performing products to our clients. Virtual prototyping, data science and other computationally-intensive technologies are and will be key aspects in our continuous race to innovation. The high-quality resources of the university will accelerate the conversion of our expertise in added value for our products,” says Dr Gabriele Pozzetti, Project Manager at Ceratizit.

Powerful capacities

Since 2006, the University of Luxembourg has invested more than eleven million euro into its own HPC facilities which today have storage capacities of over 10 PetaBytes and a computing capacity of 1 PetaFlop. It has developed large computing power and combined it with huge data storage capacity to accelerate the research performed in intensive computing and large-scale data analytic (big data). This a quite unique feature, as many other HPC facilities concentrate on only one of these pillars.

The HPC facility is a strategic asset of the university and an important factor for the scientific and therefore also economic competitiveness of Luxembourg. The platform is used for research in fields such as physics, cryptology, software validation, and simulation and analysis of communication networks. The large storage capacity is crucial for research in polymer physics or material science, simulations in economical research and biomedical research on neuro-degenerative diseases like Parkinson or Alzheimer.

While mostly reserved for research, the university allocates up to ten percent of its HPC capacities for projects of external partners.

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