Start of con­struc­tion for new high-per­form­ance com­put­ing cen­ter at Pader­born Uni­ver­sity

The symbolic groundbreaking marks the beginning of a roughly two-year construction phase for a 2,500 m² building on the campus of Paderborn University. The new data center and research facility will house the next phase of the high-performance computer Noctua, one of the most powerful university high-performance computing (HPC) systems in Germany. The developer of the project is the Bielefeld branch of BLB NRW (public building and real estate management organization of North Rhine-Westphalia), which had invited to the groundbreaking ceremony. In addition to Marcus Hermes, Managing Director of BLB NRW, Dr. Ing. Dieter Herr, Head of Department 1 “University Medicine and University Construction” in the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Simone Probst, Vice President for Operations of Paderborn University, Prof. Dr. Christian Plessl, director of the Paderborn Center for Parallel Computing (PC²) and numerous further guests attended the ceremony.

“With the groundbreaking for the new data center, the construction of a building begins, which will strengthen the Paderborn area as well as the entire research region of Eastern Westphalia-Lippe,” commented Marcus Hermes the construction project for the BLB NRW.

Dr. Dieter Herr shared the view of the Ministry of Culture and Science: “The data center for Noctua secures an efficient and future-proof infrastructure in the field of high-performance computing for the research location Paderborn. Not only scientists from Paderborn University, but from all over North Rhine-Westphalia and beyond will be able to conduct research at an internationally competitive level in this center.”

Vice president of Paderborn University Simone Probst pointed out the importance of the supercomputer for the university: “With Noctua we have created the best conditions for interdisciplinary research at the interface of methodology, application and computer system research. For Paderborn University this is an important step towards further advancing its cutting-edge research internationally. We are extremely proud to be among the most powerful university-level HPC systems in Germany with the new research infrastructure. That puts us even better prepared for the future.”

“Noctua and the related research building are important milestones on the way to optimally integrate the operation of the high-performance computer, scientific work and student training in this area under one roof. With the new data center, we are creating a future-oriented infrastructure for the operation of future generations of high-performance computers, which meets our high standards of flexibility, reliability and efficiency,” added Prof. Dr. Plessl from the Paderborn Center for Parallel Computing (PC²).

The heart of the two story building will be a 340 m² hall in which the computer room is located. The infrastructure is designed to be so modular and expandable that the building can easily be used by future generations of HPC systems. In addition to the computer room and the technical infrastructure, there will be a building section with offices and an IT workshop for the employees of the Paderborn Center for Parallel Computing (PC²) as well as meeting rooms, laboratories and lecture halls for users of the computer systems and students. The costs amount to around 18 million euros for the building and another 10 million euros for the high-performance computer. The federal government supports this research facility with a funding of 7.55 million euros, while the state NRW will provide 10.45 million euros for the research facility.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place as part of the 9th HPC Status Conference of the Gauss Alliance. This conference offers scientists and HPC users a platform for interdisciplinary exchange on current research activities and issues in the field of high-performance computing in Germany. A special feature lies in the cross-thematic exchange of the different disciplines. In addition, the event promotes the visibility of the German research in the HPC area.

Previous article about the inauguration of the first phase of Noctua HPC systems can be found here.


Basic data of the new data center building:

Gross floor area: approx. 2,500 m²
Area data center and technical areas: approx. 1,500 m²
Area Office, etc.: approx. 1,000 m²
Ground-breaking ceremony: 17.10.2019
Completion: expected spring 2021
Cost: € 18 million (building), € 10 million (Noctua HPC systems)

Photo (Paderborn University, Simon Ratmann): Carried out the groundbreaking: From left to right: Michael Dreier, Dr. Dieter Herr, Simone Probst, Rolf Holler, Marcus Hermes and Prof. Dr. Christian Plessl.
Photo (Paderborn University, Simon Ratmann): Prof. Dr. Christian Plessl was happy that the new data center will create a future-oriented infrastructure for the operation of future generations of high-performance computers.
Photo (Paderborn University, Simon Ratmann): Simone Probst pointed out that Noctua creates the best conditions for interdisciplinary research at the interface of methodology, application and computer system research.