"We need supercomputers - from designing aircraft wings to making climate predictions"

“We need supercomputers – from designing aircraft wings to making climate predictions”

The official opening of the DelftBlue supercomputer will take place on September 30 at Prinsenhof in Delft, while the fifth anniversary of the TU Delft Institute for Computational Science and Engineering will be celebrated at the same time. The program includes scientists and companies who work with supercomputers and explain the importance of supercomputing to healthcare, logistics, and the energy transition.

“Making predictions with computers is a relatively new but important part of science. You need large computers to perform complex calculations.” Martin van Gijzen, Professor of High Performance Computing at TU Delft (EEMCS) explains why supercomputers are increasingly important in solving major contemporary challenges. “Predicting the flow around an airplane wing requires a complex and time-consuming computation. To design a wing you have to do a lot of these calculations. You don’t really have enough computing power for these kinds of calculations, so you have to use the fastest and largest computers.”

Cluster computers were already in the various TU Delft colleges, but they did not yet have the same computing power as DelftBlue. “Another good example that we urgently need for supercomputers is making predictions about climate change,” adds Van Gijzen. “For climate predictions where you want to take into account many different phenomena, you need a tremendous amount of computing power.” A supercomputer is also useful in mechanics: “Physical behavior can be very complex and depends on many factors. The larger the computer, the more you can model the physical behavior. A supercomputer is used in tomography: if you want to use measurements to predict what it will look like It has the person inside, or if you want to see what the Earth’s crust looks like inside. Or if you need to analyze large data sets using artificial intelligence algorithms.”

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Since 1984, scientists in the Netherlands have been able to use the SARA (now SURF) supercomputers in Amsterdam. “But now we can offer researchers something very beautiful about Delft and in that we can attract talent,” says Case Voic, Scientific Director of the Delft Center for High Performance Computing (DHPC) in this story. DelftBlue fills in the gap between the national supercomputer in Amsterdam and the cluster computers the university already had, Van Gijzen adds. Scholars from all faculties can use it easily, without having to write a proposal first. Students can also use it, and part of the time is allotted to education.”

The event “The Art of Scientific Computing” will be held on September 30 (9:00-17:00) at the Prinsenhof Museum Delft and is open to the public, businesses and interested scientists. Artist Jeroen van der Most will explain how to make art using data and algorithms. You can register here.

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