KU Leuven and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Advance AI Capabilities through New Supercomputer

April 24, 2018 • Press Release


  • HPE collaborated with KU Leuven and UHasselt to develop and deploy Genius, a new supercomputer built to run artificial intelligence (AI) workloads.
  • AI has evolved rapidly in recent years and is introducing new powerful methods in scientific research.
  • With 600 teraflops of power and 28 terabytes of memory, Genius has the equivalent of 20.000 smartphones behind a single touch.

KU Leuven’s “Genius” – one of the largest supercomputer deployments in Flanders – installed by HPE to run artificial intelligence workloads in scientific research

PALO ALTO, Calif. – April 24, 2018 – Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE:HPE) today announced a new supercomputer installation at KU Leuven, a Flemish research university consistently ranked as one of the five most innovative universities in the world. HPE collaborated with KU Leuven to develop and deploy a new supercomputer built to run artificial intelligence (AI) workloads, which KU Leuven named, “Genius.” The system will be available to both academia and the industry to build applications that drive scientific breakthroughs, economic growth and innovation in Flanders, the northern region of Belgium.


Supercomputers – the most sophisticated high-performance computers (HPC) – increasingly play a crucial role in generating actionable insights from vast amounts of data. Applications such as artificial intelligence (AI) – for which HPC is a foundational technology – have evolved rapidly in recent years and are introducing new powerful methods in scientific research. AI has the promise to radically change economics, digital humanities, biomedical sciences and cosmology.


Genius to further innovation in Flanders

The new system at KU Leuven will be part of the Flemish Supercomputing Center (VSC) and available for KU Leuven and UHasselt researchers, as well as other VSC users, from academia and industry. It will support a very diverse research community in scientific areas like molecular modelling, engineering, physics, chemistry, climate studies, astronomy and astrophysics or psychology.


The university, together with HPE, also will provide training for researchers, equipping them with the knowledge and skills required to successfully and productively work with HPC systems in the future.  Training activities will include CPU optimization techniques as well as GPU code modernization and optimization techniques. Specialized Machine Learning trainings also will be offered.


Jan Ooghe, KU Leuven said:

“With innovation at our core, KU Leuven wanted to offer the capabilities and benefits of a top-notch HPC system to our users to enable them to discover new insights and gain a competitive edge ahead of other universities. We see AI as a new powerful method in scientific research where HPC will play an important role, and this new system with its powerful GPU section will undoubtedly help our researchers to explore and take advantage of it.“


Dr. Eng Lim Goh, PHD, VP and SGI CTO, HPE:

“Traditionally, scientific laws have been applied deductively – from predicting the performance of a pacemaker before implant, downforce of a Formula 1 car, pricing of derivatives in finance or the motion of planets for a trip to Mars. With artificial intelligence, we are starting to also use the data-intensive inductive approach, enabled by the re-emergence of Machine Learning which has been fueled by decades of accumulated records.”


20,000 smartphones combined

This HPE solution is based on new technologies that are purpose-built for HPC workloads, including HPE Apollo k6000 systems and HPE Gen10 compute servers designed to deliver 300 teraflops of computational power with support of NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPU accelerators and emerging technology servers including the HPE Apollo sx40, which supports deep learning andHPCworkloads.


For this system, each GPU could make the computational equivalent of two standard dual-socket servers. With four GPUs in one server, the compute power transforms from one server to 9. Genius is comprised of a cluster with 96 CPU compute nodes and 20 GPU machines with 4 GPUs per server; the result is a blazing fast system, particularly with AI workloads.

Designed, built and supported by HPE, the deployment is located at the universitys main campus in Leuven in a state-of-the-art green datacenter.


About Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is a global technology leader focused on developing intelligent solutions that allow customers to capture, analyze and act upon data seamlessly from edge to core to cloud. HPE enables customers to accelerate business outcomes by driving new business models, creating new customer and employee experiences, and increasing operational efficiency today and into the future.


About KU Leuven

KU Leuven is a leading European university dedicated to research, education and service to society. It is a founding member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and has a strong European and international orientation. Its sizeable academic staff conducts basic and applied research in a comprehensive range of disciplines. University Hospitals Leuven, its network of research hospitals, provides high-quality healthcare and develops new therapeutic and diagnostic insights with an emphasis on translational research. The University welcomes more 50,000 students from over 140 countries.Its doctoral schools organise internationally oriented PhD programmes for over 4,500 doctoral students. More info: www.kuleuven.be/english


About VSC

The Flemish Supercomputer Center (VSC) was established by the Flemish Government in December 2007 with the aim to join the efforts of the five Flemish university to align and integrate their existing supercomputer infrastructures, to make their expertise available to public and private funded research and to develop a technical and financial plan for the construction of a competitive grid and HPC infrastructure available to all researchers in Flanders.


About Hasselt University

Hasselt University is a university with campuses in Hasselt and Diepenbeek, Belgium. True to its baseline 'Knowledge in action', Hasselt University is an innovative and dynamic university – an institution which provides for a qualified workforce, locally adapted research, appropriate services and technologies for the region. The university has six faculties (Law, Sciences, Business Economics, Medicine & Life Sciences, Architecture & Arts and Engineering Technology), one School (Transportation Sciences) and six research institutes (which cover a wide range of research areas: biomedical, environmental, statistical, material, transportation research and media technology research). UHasselt is home to about 6,500 students and 1,400 academic, administrative and technical staff members.


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