Most powerful supercomputer in Texas by 2019 with new cooling technology

A 250 petaflop supercomputer immersed in liquid coolant is being built in Texas. In 2019, it could be the world’s most powerful supercomputer.

40,000 server immersed in coolant are going into a data center in Houston. It is being built by DownUnder GeoSolutions (DUG).

It will perform cutting-edge computer modeling for energy companies and bring new levels of precision to oil and gas exploration. It will be housed in the Skybox Datacenters facility in Houston’s Energy Corridor, where DUG has leased 15 megawatts of capacity. The deal, represented by Bennett Data Center Solutions, is the largest colocation transaction in Houston’s history.

It will use more than 720 enclosures using the DUG Cool liquid cooling system, which fully submerges servers in tanks filled with dielectric fluid. This will reduce the huge system’s energy usage by about 45 percent compared to traditional air cooling.

DUG and Skybox expect the data center to be extraordinarily efficient, operating at a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.05, lower than even the most advanced hyperscale cloud providers.

The system is expected to be operational by February 2019.

The initial DUG McCloud data hall will have a 250 petaflop (single-precision) machine once fully installed.

The data center is currently being upgraded to accommodate a 120+ petaflop machine by 2018.

Immersive Dielectric Cooling

The cooling system fully submerges standard high-performance computing (HPC) servers into specially-designed tanks that are filled with polyalphaolefin dielectric fluid. The fluid is non-toxic, non-flammable, biodegradable, non-polar, has low viscosity, and most importantly, doesn’t conduct electricity. The unique part of this design is that the heat exchangers are very simple and submerged with the computer equipment, meaning that no dielectric fluid ever leaves the tank. A water loop runs through the rooms and to each heat exchanger.

The dielectric fluid is cooled and circulated around the extremely hot components in the compute servers. This innovative oil-cooling solution has high thermal capabilities and a large operating temperature range.

Traditionally, companies like DUG spend half of their revenue on compute centres. Energy use can be a significant and crippling expense in a conventional data centre. With DUG Cool, the thermal qualities of the fluid mean that condensed-water chillers can be used rather than refrigeration, saving 25-30% of total power usage. Removing all server fans, which aren’t needed in a fluid-immersion system, reduces power consumption by a further 20%. That’s a total power saving of at least 45%.

The over 1000x thermal capacity of the fluid vs. air means that components never get hot, reducing their mean time to failure. Fluid-immersed computers fail at a much lower rate, considerably reducing maintenance costs and expensive down-time.

DownUnder GeoSolutions

DownUnder GeoSolutions (DUG) is an Australian-owned high-tech geosciences company.

DUG has invested in one of the largest supercomputer networks in the world, with data centres in Perth, Houston, London and Kuala Lumpur. The Perth cluster, affectionately known as “Bruce”, is the largest supercomputer in the southern hemisphere at 22 petaflops (PF). All four data centres have been recently upgraded and DUG’s global compute power now exceeds 50 PF.

80 thoughts on “Most powerful supercomputer in Texas by 2019 with new cooling technology”

  1. Unfortunately immersed equipment is a pain to service. Imagine having to work with an oil covered object, that’s roughly the experience. There’s also the nontrivial circulation pump cost if you are not depending on thermal siphon effects to lift cold liquid past the computer heatsinks. You can do this at home with 3M Flourinert, and I think some crazy overclockers did that with LN2 cooling the liquid mass and fish tank pumps for forced circulation.

    Reply
  2. Unfortunately immersed equipment is a pain to service. Imagine having to work with an oil covered object that’s roughly the experience. There’s also the nontrivial circulation pump cost if you are not depending on thermal siphon effects to lift cold liquid past the computer heatsinks.You can do this at home with 3M Flourinert and I think some crazy overclockers did that with LN2 cooling the liquid mass and fish tank pumps for forced circulation.

    Reply
  3. I don’t know, some overclocker might have tried LN2, but the ones using fish tanks and pumps were using deionized water. I doubt an aquarium pump would work at LN2 temperatures.

    Reply
  4. I don’t know some overclocker might have tried LN2 but the ones using fish tanks and pumps were using deionized water.I doubt an aquarium pump would work at LN2 temperatures.

    Reply
  5. This is why we shouldn’t be burning oil to heat homes. Oil should be reserved for transportation. Natural gas can be used to heat homes.

    Reply
  6. Actually it’s the oil that is hard to replace for a lot of uses, ie: anything that can’t be plugged into the grid. Gas or coal to liquids can replace oil at greater expense.

    Reply
  7. In what way? Texas (or Houston) is simply chosen as the site to host this supercomputer by an Aussie company. Has nothing to do with you Texas @igor!

    Reply
  8. This is why we shouldn’t be burning oil to heat homes. Oil should be reserved for transportation. Natural gas can be used to heat homes.

    Reply
  9. Actually it’s the oil that is hard to replace for a lot of uses ie: anything that can’t be plugged into the grid. Gas or coal to liquids can replace oil at greater expense.

    Reply
  10. In what way? Texas (or Houston) is simply chosen as the site to host this supercomputer by an Aussie company. Has nothing to do with you Texas, @igor!

    Reply
  11. Oil is the best substitute for “things that cannot be plugged into the grid”? I don’t know what you’re smoking, but do you have more brah?

    Reply
  12. Oil is the best substitute for things that cannot be plugged into the grid””?I don’t know what you’re smoking”””” but do you have more brah?”””

    Reply
  13. It’s hard to run cars airplanes or other mobile devices on anything other than petroleum products. Batteries might soon be good enough but not quite yet. For generating electricity lots of non-petroleum energy sources work tolerably well, so if you can plug the device into the electricity grid you don’t need petroleum to run it. I don’t see what your problem was with understanding my earlier comment.

    Reply
  14. It’s hard to run cars airplanes or other mobile devices on anything other than petroleum products. Batteries might soon be good enough but not quite yet.For generating electricity lots of non-petroleum energy sources work tolerably well so if you can plug the device into the electricity grid you don’t need petroleum to run it.I don’t see what your problem was with understanding my earlier comment.

    Reply
  15. A very large number of people still do that. And yes it is as expensive as hell, sometimes two to three times the price of burning gas. Some people are afraid of gas, you know the explosion thing. And some just can’t swallow that nut of running the gas pipe and changing the furnace or the burner. The joke is that the pay back period is only a few years. And a weird as it sound some people don’t know that they have an option.

    Reply
  16. A very large number of people still do that. And yes it is as expensive as hell sometimes two to three times the price of burning gas. Some people are afraid of gas you know the explosion thing. And some just can’t swallow that nut of running the gas pipe and changing the furnace or the burner. The joke is that the pay back period is only a few years. And a weird as it sound some people don’t know that they have an option.

    Reply
  17. Texas is well known for being a business friendly state, so no surprise the decision was made to locate there. It was chosen, and California was not, for a reason.

    Reply
  18. In the Northeast, virtue-signalling politicians have delayed pipelines for natural gas. I believe that last year during a cold snap they had to pay the Russians dearly for the privilege of shipping in natural gas. But hey, Putin could use the money and nothing says virtue like self flagellation!

    Reply
  19. Texas is well known for being a business friendly state so no surprise the decision was made to locate there. It was chosen and California was not for a reason.

    Reply
  20. In the Northeast virtue-signalling politicians have delayed pipelines for natural gas. I believe that last year during a cold snap they had to pay the Russians dearly for the privilege of shipping in natural gas. But hey Putin could use the money and nothing says virtue like self flagellation!

    Reply
  21. As I understand it, the state government of New York banned new pipeline construction for natural gas, just as it has banned fracking. Since New England pipelines must run through New York, they have no choice but to pay Putin.

    Reply
  22. The US exports LNG but because of the Jones Act that says if you ship from an America port to another American port the ship must be American and the crew must be American. There are no LNG carrier that qualify. And so New England has to buy LNG internationally which includes the Russian. I think it was a shipment for Norway that may have contain natural gas that originated in Russia. There will always be some delays in the building of natural gas pipelines due to NIMBY and the small odds of a gas pipeline explosion. So affluent towns and villages tie up the pipelines in courts for years. Of course these same people pay the increase cost of natural gas during the winter months. The gas companies could also build LNG storage facilities but they would also get the same NIMBY treatment.

    Reply
  23. Texas is well known for being a business friendly state, so no surprise the decision was made to locate there. It was chosen, and California was not, for a reason.

    Reply
  24. Texas is well known for being a business friendly state so no surprise the decision was made to locate there. It was chosen and California was not for a reason.

    Reply
  25. In the Northeast, virtue-signalling politicians have delayed pipelines for natural gas. I believe that last year during a cold snap they had to pay the Russians dearly for the privilege of shipping in natural gas. But hey, Putin could use the money and nothing says virtue like self flagellation!

    Reply
  26. In the Northeast virtue-signalling politicians have delayed pipelines for natural gas. I believe that last year during a cold snap they had to pay the Russians dearly for the privilege of shipping in natural gas. But hey Putin could use the money and nothing says virtue like self flagellation!

    Reply
  27. In the Northeast, virtue-signalling politicians have delayed pipelines for natural gas. I believe that last year during a cold snap they had to pay the Russians dearly for the privilege of shipping in natural gas. But hey, Putin could use the money and nothing says virtue like self flagellation!

    Reply
  28. A very large number of people still do that. And yes it is as expensive as hell, sometimes two to three times the price of burning gas. Some people are afraid of gas, you know the explosion thing. And some just can’t swallow that nut of running the gas pipe and changing the furnace or the burner. The joke is that the pay back period is only a few years. And a weird as it sound some people don’t know that they have an option.

    Reply
  29. A very large number of people still do that. And yes it is as expensive as hell sometimes two to three times the price of burning gas. Some people are afraid of gas you know the explosion thing. And some just can’t swallow that nut of running the gas pipe and changing the furnace or the burner. The joke is that the pay back period is only a few years. And a weird as it sound some people don’t know that they have an option.

    Reply
  30. A very large number of people still do that. And yes it is as expensive as hell, sometimes two to three times the price of burning gas. Some people are afraid of gas, you know the explosion thing. And some just can’t swallow that nut of running the gas pipe and changing the furnace or the burner. The joke is that the pay back period is only a few years. And a weird as it sound some people don’t know that they have an option.

    Reply
  31. It’s hard to run cars airplanes or other mobile devices on anything other than petroleum products. Batteries might soon be good enough but not quite yet. For generating electricity lots of non-petroleum energy sources work tolerably well, so if you can plug the device into the electricity grid you don’t need petroleum to run it. I don’t see what your problem was with understanding my earlier comment.

    Reply
  32. It’s hard to run cars airplanes or other mobile devices on anything other than petroleum products. Batteries might soon be good enough but not quite yet.For generating electricity lots of non-petroleum energy sources work tolerably well so if you can plug the device into the electricity grid you don’t need petroleum to run it.I don’t see what your problem was with understanding my earlier comment.

    Reply
  33. Oil is the best substitute for “things that cannot be plugged into the grid”? I don’t know what you’re smoking, but do you have more brah?

    Reply
  34. Oil is the best substitute for things that cannot be plugged into the grid””?I don’t know what you’re smoking”””” but do you have more brah?”””

    Reply
  35. In what way? Texas (or Houston) is simply chosen as the site to host this supercomputer by an Aussie company. Has nothing to do with you Texas, @igor!

    Reply
  36. In what way? Texas (or Houston) is simply chosen as the site to host this supercomputer by an Aussie company. Has nothing to do with you Texas @igor!

    Reply
  37. This is why we shouldn’t be burning oil to heat homes. Oil should be reserved for transportation. Natural gas can be used to heat homes.

    Reply
  38. This is why we shouldn’t be burning oil to heat homes. Oil should be reserved for transportation. Natural gas can be used to heat homes.

    Reply
  39. Actually it’s the oil that is hard to replace for a lot of uses, ie: anything that can’t be plugged into the grid. Gas or coal to liquids can replace oil at greater expense.

    Reply
  40. Actually it’s the oil that is hard to replace for a lot of uses ie: anything that can’t be plugged into the grid. Gas or coal to liquids can replace oil at greater expense.

    Reply
  41. It’s hard to run cars airplanes or other mobile devices on anything other than petroleum products. Batteries might soon be good enough but not quite yet.
    For generating electricity lots of non-petroleum energy sources work tolerably well, so if you can plug the device into the electricity grid you don’t need petroleum to run it.
    I don’t see what your problem was with understanding my earlier comment.

    Reply
  42. I don’t know, some overclocker might have tried LN2, but the ones using fish tanks and pumps were using deionized water. I doubt an aquarium pump would work at LN2 temperatures.

    Reply
  43. I don’t know some overclocker might have tried LN2 but the ones using fish tanks and pumps were using deionized water.I doubt an aquarium pump would work at LN2 temperatures.

    Reply
  44. Actually it’s the oil that is hard to replace for a lot of uses, ie: anything that can’t be plugged into the grid. Gas or coal to liquids can replace oil at greater expense.

    Reply
  45. Unfortunately immersed equipment is a pain to service. Imagine having to work with an oil covered object, that’s roughly the experience. There’s also the nontrivial circulation pump cost if you are not depending on thermal siphon effects to lift cold liquid past the computer heatsinks. You can do this at home with 3M Flourinert, and I think some crazy overclockers did that with LN2 cooling the liquid mass and fish tank pumps for forced circulation.

    Reply
  46. Unfortunately immersed equipment is a pain to service. Imagine having to work with an oil covered object that’s roughly the experience. There’s also the nontrivial circulation pump cost if you are not depending on thermal siphon effects to lift cold liquid past the computer heatsinks.You can do this at home with 3M Flourinert and I think some crazy overclockers did that with LN2 cooling the liquid mass and fish tank pumps for forced circulation.

    Reply
  47. Unfortunately immersed equipment is a pain to service. Imagine having to work with an oil covered object, that’s roughly the experience. There’s also the nontrivial circulation pump cost if you are not depending on thermal siphon effects to lift cold liquid past the computer heatsinks.

    You can do this at home with 3M Flourinert, and I think some crazy overclockers did that with LN2 cooling the liquid mass and fish tank pumps for forced circulation.

    Reply

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