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APE100 (1993-1995)- 25 GFlops
APE1000 (1999/2001)-144 GFlops peak
apeNEXT (2005/2006)- 4000 GFlops

... but time flies!

and a new supercomputer is needed.


The making of a Hybrid GPU Cluster (nameless so far)

- a picture story -



directors and producers
Frithjof Karsch
Edwin Laermann
Olaf Kaczmarek




... some actors
Markus Klappenbach (cluster administrator)
Fabricio Pucci
Mathias Wagner
Thomas Luthe


and transformers: big boxes, smaller boxes, empty space and a christmas tree with own electric power supply

The directors and producers had not only the duty to find components  to transform to a GPU-Cluster and to fight for money but additionally to find electric power under very special conditions. But finally the project could get started in a high security area of the university computer center (HRZ).   

The empty compartment gets filled - the empty frames get filled under the watchfull eyes of directors and actors. As it is Christmas time even the little, electrical autonomous christmas tree is watching the making of the GPU-Cluster permanently.

A new actor shows up - hidden behind the still empty racks: Christian Schmidt

The project is realized together with sysGen Gmbh (a supplier for computer engineering) and NVIDIA (a leading producer of GPUs).
The content of a lot of smaller and bigger boxes has to be filled into 15 racks. In the end there will be 400 GPUs with a processing power of 500 Teraflops.

the front side
the beautiful rear side

What makes a supercomputer really expensive?

Electricity is a problem you should never underestimate!

The power station under construction. The picture on the left shows really impressive power cables for a really impressive computer.
One particular feature of the new computer is its comparatively low power consumption. It is 50 times smaller than a system with the same computing capability composed of PCs.


Besides the installation of the GPU-Cluster a (little but not unexpensive) problem occurred: The bigger and smaller boxes transformed from full to empty boxes. Only with the help of heavy equipment the problem could be solved in a long, long lasting campaign.

The memory of the cluster

After several weeks of hard work the cluster is now nearly finished.


We protect our baby with all means.

Fireprotection by Gloria.
We even put the cluster behind bars
and extra doors

- we save electrical power wherever we can-
Mathias Wagner is starting the cluster with pure manpower on January 25 under the watchful eyes of Olaf Kaczmarek.

World Premiere
Inauguration of the new GPU-Cluster
January 25, 2012

special guests:

  • Prof. Peter Braun-Munzinger
    ExtreMe Matter Institute EMMI, GSI, TU Darmstadt and FIAS
    Nucleus-nucleus collisions at the LHC: from a gleam in the eye to quantitative investigations of the Quark-Gluon Plasma
  • Prof. Richard Brower
    Boston University
    QUDA: Lattice Theory on GPUs
  • Axel Köhler
    NVIDIA, Solution Architect HPC
    GPU Computing: Present and Future
Prof. P. Braun-Munzinger
Prof. R. Brower
A. Köhler

sponsored by

  • @ 2011 Universität Bielefeld
  • | 16.09.2016
  •  Gudrun Eickmeyer + Olaf Kaczmarek
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