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IBM Deploys Hot-Water Cooled Supercomputer

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the hot-is-the-new-cool dept.

IBM 112

MrSeb writes "With the ISC (International Supercomputer Conference) kicking off this week, there's been a flurry of announcements around new supercomputer buildouts. One of the more interesting systems debuting this week is SuperMUC — IBM's new supercomputer at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center in Germany IBM is billing SuperMUC as the first 'hot-water cooled supercomputer,' an advance it claims cut power consumption by 40%. Dubbed Aquasar, the new system looks like any standard water cooler: water is pumped in one side of the blade, circulates throughout the system, and is pumped out. The difference, according to IBM, are the microchannels etched into the copper heatblock above the CPU cores. Rather than simply being dumped, SuperMUC's waste heat is designed to be converted into building heat during winter. Presumably it is mostly radiated away in summer, rather than being dumped into the offices of angry German scientists."

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microchannels? (1)

Cosmic Debris (650504) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364401)

What again? Someone call Chet Heath!

Re:microchannels? (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364411)

CURSE YOU!

*shakes tiny fist*

--
BMO

A laundry shop on the side ? (4, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365435)

Laundry shops need a lot of very hot water to "cook" the dirty linen that they receive everyday

Almost all laundry shops are using water heaters - whether they be electric powered water heaters or gas-burner powered water heaters - to heat up the water

Here's my proposal:

On the side of all super-computer center or any large scale data-center the authority should draw up a special "zone" for laundry shops

That way, all the hot water generated from the computers will be put to good use - without any additional wastage of precious energy resource

It's kinda fits into the "Go Green" concept that is so popular these days
 

Re:A laundry shop on the side ? (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365573)

Japanese baths.

Great, big, Japanese baths.

Think about it!

--
BMO

Re:A laundry shop on the side ? (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365939)

There's one big problem

If you get a Japanese Bath (with beautiful Japanese ladies enjoying their baths) on the side of a super-computer center or data-center, who will man the data-center?

All the geeks from the data-center will flock to join the Japanese ladies in the Japanese Bath

Re:A laundry shop on the side ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40366287)

Not to mention all the additives that will go into the water, unless you are planning to have a separate water supply and system that transfers the heat between them.

The perk for using it as a heat source for a HVAC system is that the circuit doesn't need to be open, unless you want to breath fluid. My college has a system like this for their server rooms and all the floors. If memory serves me right, they supply heating to only half of the building at a time (north or south), because of the way the sun hits the building and heats it. Because of this building which I'm used to, I find it confusing as to why this is considered news big enough to be posted here. The college building was designed from the ground up to be as green as possible and has been operating for a few of years.

XKCD [xkcd.com]

Re:A laundry shop on the side ? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#40369519)

I breathe fluid all the time :)

Re:A laundry shop on the side ? (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 2 years ago | (#40366417)

All the geeks from the data-center will flock to join the Japanese ladies in the Japanese Bath

And even with the ladies already naked I fear the geeks still got no shot....
How about building REALLY SMART Hot Dog carts? With that much hot water we could have ever conceivable version of tube steak hot and ready to go.

Re:A laundry shop on the side ? (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40369057)

All the geeks from the data-center will flock to join the Japanese ladies in the Japanese Bath

And even with the ladies already naked I fear the geeks still got no shot.... How about building REALLY SMART Hot Dog carts? With that much hot water we could have ever conceivable version of tube steak hot and ready to go.

Hot dog carts were banned in my town as a result of the G-string clad cart employees causing many automobile accidents.

Re:A laundry shop on the side ? (1)

anubi (640541) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365651)

Excellent insight there.

I am in the process of redoing my A/C so that I use a liquid-to-liquid heat exchanger ( tube-in-tube; actually mechanized as a length of copper tubing in a rubber hose ) so I can take advantage of the approx 60 deg F city water.

I figure if I am going to irrigate, the plants won't mind it at all if I warm it to about 85-90F. The refrigeration loop runs on propane - plain old barbeque gas no less. As a refrigerant, not a fuel.

The main concern I have had is the refrigerant loop runs at higher pressure than city water, so the system has to be designed in such a manner as any possible leak can not be injected into the city water main, hence using water going to irrigation - any propane leak would be harmlessly vented through the irrigation system. Not that I expect it to happen, but I never know when I will get a pinhole leak in anything and must design for that possibility.

The other end of the refrigerant loop freezes a children's swimming pool full of water in a styrofoam lined enclosure under an outdoor patio. Ice water is circulated to cool the house. The system runs offpeak hours to make ice.

I am presently looking into whether or not I can use solar collectors in reverse at night to get rid of heat, effectively using them as a blackbody radiator beaming the heat to deep space.

Nobody seems much interested in this technology, as the powers that be are now saying peak oil is a joke and we have more oil than one can imagine. I plan to move out of the city one day, I want to know I can reconstruct things that make life a lot more comfortable. What I lack in money I intend to make up for in ingenuity.

Re:A laundry shop on the side ? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365975)

beaming the heat to deep space

I don't think solar panel can beam heat into deep space

Re:A laundry shop on the side ? (4, Interesting)

anubi (640541) | more than 2 years ago | (#40366819)

At night, my roof faces the black sky.

I notice my car gets wet from condensation. Its "beaming" its thermal energy off into the night sky - just as it will accept energy from the sun during the day, becoming quite hot.

I figure if I am streaming 90 degree water into a solar collector at night, it may cool it off to 80 degrees or so - especially if I combine it with evaporative cooling.

Its the typical "it gets cold at night" thing.

If you were in outer space with an infrared detector over my house at night, you should see my solar collector "lit up".

The idea is I have a lot of BTU I want to get rid of in my quest to liquefy propane gas at high pressure. I can heat up air ( conventional method of doing it ), or transfer the heat to a cooler mass, ( water in my case ), evaporate water with it, and I want to experiment to see how much BTU I can radiate with a standard solar collector panel ( the ones with liquid channels ).

I would like to experiment with standard PV panels bonded onto liquid-channel panels so that during the day, the PV makes electricity, while the liquid panels not only cool the PV array, but provide preheat for a 100 gallon water tank.

Fluid circulation pumps will route water from the tank, through the collector, then back to the tank as long as collector temperature exceeds tank temperature.

Of course, once the sun sets, the panel is no longer experiences an influx of about 1KW/m^2 solar energy.

At night, it will cool off and become quite cold all by itself as it faces the night sky. That's when I am going to attempt to heat the panel back up by circulating water used to cool the propane exchanger ( condenser ). I see it as about 100 square foot of blackbody radiator. What I want is some practical experience on how many BTU I can get rid of doing it this way, as the circulator pumps draw much less energy than the fans required to move the air in a liquid-air exchanger.

I already have an aluminum roof. That thing gets so cold during the summer I have been having a problem with condensation causing mildew problems. Despite outside air temps of 80-90 F. For condensation to form, the roof has to drop below dew point temperature, and judging from how fast I am condensing liquid water from the air, I get a gut feeling I am already beaming out quite a lot of heat.

So, in a sense, I am "beaming" the energy to deep space just as a light bulb "beams" the energy of its heated filament into a dark room.

By far, the most practical is to simply evaporative cool the system... but what if water is not freely available ( design for the Middle East. ).

That is what I liked about your post. You saw the heat being generated in a server farm, and noted it was just the right temperature for use in a laundromat. A helluva lot of BTU that could have been used - wasted. If more people had your mindset, we could enjoy our creature comforts without paying twice for energy. It simply doesn't make sense to waste things.

Re:A laundry shop on the side ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40367181)

The word you're looking for is "radiating". That aside, how does your local authority feel about your DIY high pressure propane system? I wouldn't tell them if I were you; I expect the fire service would have a fit.

Re:A laundry shop on the side ? (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#40368169)

You have some good tech but strange ideas re. saving on energy.

Getting rid of excessive heat is to be done by reusing it, not by loosing it into space (or more likely the atmosphere).
You write about the oil price, the installation of original article is positioned in Germany, one of the many countries that is seriously worried about an irrevocable human effect on the climate also know as the green house effect.
So Germany has like all other EU countries decided to promote renewable energy and best practises for avoiding waste.

Re:A laundry shop on the side ? (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#40368573)

... use solar collectors in reverse at night to get rid of heat...

I'm fairly certain you can. Do you have one of those contactless IR thermometers? Point it at a clear blue sky - it'll read way below zero (F or C). You're reading the effective temp of the atmosphere up to space, and the efficiency of your radiator is proportional to the temperature difference. If you point it at the base of an overhead cloud, it reads much higher.

Re:microchannels? (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365711)

You'd think we'd have nanochannels by now.

what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364407)

what about cooking oil?

Re:what (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40366749)

what about cooking oil?

What about it?

Re:what (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40367363)

I think the GP meant running cooking oil through the system instead of hot water, and then use the hot oil to fry stuff that the scientiests want to eat. That would be useful both summer & winter.

On a different note, I wonder - why not have some of these supercomputers built and installed in some of the world's coldest places - say Fairbanks, AK, or within Russia, the 2 North Poles of Cold [wikipedia.org] - Verkhoyansk or Oymyakon. Another idea for a good location would be Svalbard Islands in Norway, just off the Arctic - they have a satellite station that has a 10Gb/s fiber connection to the internet. Avoid casing the computers in question, just have an open roof over them, and the ambient temperature of the area should be good enough to perpetually cool them. Toss in a shitload of Itaniums - and gobs of memory, and have it run. Due to the constant cooling, the MTBF of the CPUs should be much higher, and they can run non-stop.

Of course, if they desire to channel the heat in such cold places, that too can be arranged - and done.

In German summer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364437)

Scientists heat you!

I never understood server room cooling (3, Interesting)

mwfischer (1919758) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364477)

Hot and cold isn't that hard. Maybe I am missing a point somewhere.

You take the heat energy biproduct from a processor and dump it somewhere else. In "normal" this case, an air conditioned room. Heat dissipated is being countered by air conditioning going 24/7. More energy.

Instead of watercooling, which can refrigerate a fluid (more energy in put and unusable for anything else), this removes waste heat and reuses it elsewhere.

This isn't going to work but... Instead of sitting in the tub and pissing in it continuously, your waste is being used somewhere else. (This is Germany after all)

Has anyone ever tested if we actually need air conditioning for a server room? I mean transform one into a "wind tunnel" where the waste heat is either ejected outside or used internally? Instead of a giant cube... what about a rectangle?

Will this lead to.. yo dawg I heard you like blades so we made your rack of blades into a blade?

Re:I never understood server room cooling (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364553)

You ever try working in a server room when the a/c is broken? In southern California? In the middle of summer? It gets unpleasant. Quickly. And when it's 110 outside, you cannot simply pipe in outside air to cool the place. a/c is also for the server admins, not just the hardware. I'd venture to guess than the equipment will fail long after I have when the place gets a bit roasty.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (5, Interesting)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364671)

He didn't say "just get rid of AC". He was wondering if you designed the shape of the room where it has a constant draft. That way, the heat is cycled out of the building and cool air is pulled in from the other side. If you had a sever room that was 10 feet wide and 200 feet long, you could have one heck of a wind tunnel effect.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364743)

This Man^^

Re:I never understood server room cooling (3, Insightful)

pedrop357 (681672) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364835)

The hard part is where do you pull FROM. If it's like the poster said and 100+ outside, you're 'cooling' your servers with 100 degree air, and it's a convection oven for everyone inside that room.

If you're pulling in the air from an air conditioned part of the building, you're just 'stealing' cold air from that part of the building and pulling it through your servers; you're also losing a lot of that cold air around the servers unless you isolate your hot/cold sides like some colo facilities do. Now we're at the point where you still have AC or chilled water, you're just not dumping the heat back into the same room, assuming you properly isolate and don't simply let the cold air slip around the servers and out the door.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365351)

The hard part is where do you pull FROM. If it's like the poster said and 100+ outside, you're 'cooling' your servers with 100 degree air,

If the surface temp of your CPU is 160-200F, then cooling it with 100F air will work fine. You still have a delta-T of 60-100F. Computers do not need to be cooled with air that feels cool to a human. If the air temp is warm, it is usually much cheaper to increase the flow rate than to cool the incoming air.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (1)

pedrop357 (681672) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365925)

Assuming all parts could handle the 100 degree air and the pressure that would be required. The room would be hell on earth with insane wind speeds, definitely a convection oven.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40366211)

Assuming all parts could handle the 100 degree air and the pressure that would be required. The room would be hell on earth with insane wind speeds, definitely a convection oven.

Do your maintenance at night, or early morning. In SoCal summer daytime temps are 100F+, but at night the temps are in the 70s.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40365625)

Most hardware can run just fine at 100+ degrees (I think most processors operate between 140F-180F). The problem is the equipment generates more than that. It's not just a matter of getting cold air (cold is relative) to the equipment as it is getting heat away from it. It starts with heat sinks which immediately helps dissipate the heat into the surrounding environment (ie the server room).

Air is just a shovel for moving the heat away. Cooling the air just makes the shovel bigger so it can sit there longer picking up heat before it moves away for another shovel. Using 100+ degrees outside air just means you have to move the shovels along faster.

Going with the 100 degree weather would you rather be near a fire outside or in an enclosed space? Would you just keep turning up the AC until that enclosed space is cooled or do you find a way to let the heat escape?

Re:I never understood server room cooling (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365843)

The main problem with air for cooling computer equipment is its specific heat.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364881)

Then you'd be wasting a huge amount of cooled air. An air conditioned box setup pumps in cold air and removes warm air. To have a wind tunnel effect, you'd have to get cooler air from somewhere. If the outside air is warmer than the server room, then you still have to rely on some sort artificial cooling, be it mechanical or evaporative, but then you're just going to blow it out the end of the tunnel? How is that more efficient? The goal is to contain the cool air while removing the heat, and not cool the outdoors while you're at it.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40365011)

If think I'm interpreting his idea right, the air from the outside is used, (assumed filtered and dehumidified), whip it through the server room, then dump the air somewhere else. Any outside air, even 110F (~43C) is a lower temperature than the heat that can be produced by a server blade. With higher temperatures outside you'd only need to increase the air speed inside the wind tunnel to counter. Instead of fans and refrigerant compressors, you have a grid of giant fans pulling air in across the servers.

I'd like to point out, recirculated air doesn't need as many resources to be reconditioned for dust or humidity when considering the equipment that air will be cooling. Moving the heat to some "big easy to clean with a hose radiators" makes a lot more sense when looking at air quality.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365663)

I wonder how a chimney style might work. Pull 'cooler' air from the sides and eject hot air out the top.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (2)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365819)

Perfect in cold places. Not so good for the rest of us, but there are interesting house cooling ideas like drawing the air in through long underground pipes so the incoming air is lower than ambient temperature.
Where I am there is about month or two each year when the maximum outside temperature is lower than the 22C I have the server room set to. On the other hand, if it was a bigger room I could put an industrial sized solar airconditioning unit because there's a lot of sunshine here even in midwinter. They are available now in industrial sizes since it's a pretty obvious application of the century+ old refridgeration cycle (it's driven by heat after all - for instance the 1950s kerosene fridges with no moving parts). Please don't misunderstand and think I'm writing about photovoltaics, it's not, it's just pipes and mirrors.
What I mean about is if it's a cold place you can take advantage of the cold air, and if it's a very sunny place you can take advantage of that extra heat energy and get it to drive a cooling system.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365743)

What If you build a server room that's either centered around a vertical pipe, or shaped as your long and narrow design, but adding an uphill gradient? Maybe instead of a constant slope, you could start off flat at the intake end, and end up swooping upwards?
On the other hand, how much of a problem is a constant stiff breeze in a server room? You could get a lot of cooling with a constant 35 Kph vertical wind, but can your techs work in one?

Re:I never understood server room cooling (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365865)

The Romans used something like that [i4at.org] to cool their homes. The room itself doesn't need to be long and skinny (though it helps). All that really matters is that air enters at one end, and exits at the other. You run the incoming air through a long underground pipe which cools the air using the ground (which stays fairly cool in hot weather). Heated air at the other end naturally rises out a vent on the ceiling, drawing in cool air from the pipe. Basically it's like a passive geothermal heat exchanger.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#40368335)

Or the 'windtowers' [google.com] used in North Africa and the Middle East, very effective.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#40366605)

Are you planning on pulling the air 10 feet across the room, or 200 feet along the length of it; 'cause if it's lengthwise, then heaven help your heatsinks at the air exit end of the room. 190+ feet of racks heating up the air. Nice wind tunnel.

niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364701)

They are unpleasant to be around.

Re:niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364739)

There is a black guy with dread locks stealing from my neighborhood (white, upscale).

he knocks on the door, and if no one answers, he gains entry.

If he knocks on my door I won't answer. I'm gonna get my shotgun and put a hole in his head.

LEGALLY!

Re:niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364755)

Nothing wrong with niggers. Every white family should have 2.
One for cleaning the house and one for shopping.

Re:niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364779)

I Know this....Niggers are bad for America! Before America elected a Nigger President the country wasn't broke, people had jobs, homes and our Dollar was worth twice what it is today. Also before we put a nigger in charge of NASA we used to put people in space, now we got to beg the Russian's (white people) for a ride.

Re:niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364801)

Only thing I hate more than Niggers:

White people acting like Niggers.

I mean, even Niggers know how bad Niggers are. That's why they say Nigger so much, because they meet so many.

Re:niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364821)

And I was really crazy about fucking black chicks. I took the first best one who let me in for free. Took me five dates until she let me in and then I'd last only five minutes. I don't like their natural smell and after fucking a few of them I am not so attracted to them anymore, I'd fuck one again if one crosses my way but I am not searching for them anymore. Due to social pressure I'd do only fuck buddy relationship. Never I would make a child with a black women, the mixed children would have a hard life.

Oh, and of course, black man have the biggest dicks, the monster cock pornography. Black > white > asian. That's not an issue for me, as a white man it is still more easy to find a women, please a women, find a job, have a social life. That's why I prefer to stay white.

Re:niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364825)

Jews and niggers are all not humans. They are dirty animals. They should live in zoo's cages. Simple like that. White man shouldn't fuck black females. It is like fuck cows or dogs. Shame for white who fucks this shit.

Re:niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364843)

Niggers lack the ability to judge their behaviors accurately because of their proximity to monkeys in the evolutionary timeline.

In the wild, there is no time for a monkey to ask himself if he is being rude. On, the contrary he must be as rude and crass as possible so that the other monkeys will stay out of his territory.

In the wild there is no time to examine your own odor "does my smell offend others." On the contrary, their smell attracts other monkeys for procreation, it is essential to a monkey. For instance, even if you hose down a nigger, he will maintain his odor. It is built in to his skin and Brillo like hair.

Re:niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364857)

niggers gonna nig

Re:niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364871)

Fuck niggers. A good nigger is a dead nigger. Any white person who defends a negro is a traitor and should be killed even before the monkey.

Re:niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40365429)

Dude you are so stupid that you mistaken the forum, this is Slashdot not Stormfront.
Now go and finish of Fucking your sister, your fucker Hillibilly, redneck, Smelly cracker, low IQ Wigger, Inbred.

The Slashdot that was ... (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365553)

... is no more

When Slashdot was brand new - trust me, I was there - there was very few racist post, and there was no "mcpc" spams either

Sigh !!

Re:The Slashdot that was ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40366021)

You must be new here.
It's been this way for quite a while.

Re:The Slashdot that was ... (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#40367763)

Oh no; there were no MCPC spams, only Goatse, ACSII porn and GNAA.

Slashdot has become a bad habit. The wife you fuck because it's better than doing without. The car with a slow puncture. The onion in a bag of apples.

Don't feed the trolls. They're fat and need to lose weight.

Re:niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40365193)

and yet he'll still smell sweeter than the racist bullshit you're serving up here.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (1)

cnaumann (466328) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365391)

You could still cool the servers with treated outside air (or 110deg water or whatever). You then insulate the server racks and cool the room with conventional AC. The trick then is that the AC only needs to handle the heat from the servers that leaks through the insulation rather than the power being dissipated by the servers.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364681)

Search for "free cooling" and you will get the answers for your questions.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365191)

Yep, or "air side economizer". The biggest issue is you need to pick your site well as you need air that is neither too moist nor too hot for most of the year, and you really need to design it in as I've never seen a positive ROI on a retrofit. Intel ran some test unit for like 18 months to prove out that it could be done, but that's too short for most enterprises that run their gear for at least 48-60 months, though it could work for the web guys who tend to turn over their gear more quickly.

Re:I never understood server room cooling (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40366357)

Has anyone ever tested if we actually need air conditioning for a server room?

You do need "air conditioning", since you do want to make sure the air is not too dirty or humid or dry or hot.
But yes you can do without conventional data center air conditioning:
http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150148003778920&_fb_noscript=1 [facebook.com]
http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/the-facebook-data-center-faq-newest-page/ [datacenterknowledge.com]

They're also trying in a warmer more humid area:
http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/04/facebook-data-center-2/ [wired.com]
Wonder how well that will work.

Power efficiency is the key (1)

gentryx (759438) | more than 2 years ago | (#40367263)

Yes, people have tested passive cooling ("wind tunnel") in server rooms. Integration density nowadays is way too high. In our (modest) server room CPUs and GPUs will quickly jump from die temperatures of 70C to 90C, which essentially means that the HW will be fried. :-/

The problem with simply "dumping the waste heat" somewhere is that you need to find a place where to dump it. As the story indicated, this is not so much a problem in winter, but in summer, when no one wants your heat (no offices b/c sweaty people won't be smart, no industry b/c the water is still too cool). The innovative aspect of SuperMUC is that they achieve free air cooling, even in the German summer when delta t is very very low. Another cooling fluid is not an option as refrigerators are not as power efficient. Its all about power efficiency. And TCO: LRZ saves 500k €/a by this hot water cooling compared to classic AC with "refrigerators".

Re:I never understood server room cooling (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#40368867)

There is some company, whose name I of course forget at the moment, that is building a building aligned with the local persistent winds so that it does create a type of wind funnel affect. (That was the most awkward sentence I've ever constructed.) Somewhere in the northern midwest US, I think, maybe.

Related News: (1, Troll)

Narnie (1349029) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364489)

In related news, the UN Security Council has scheduled the start of WW3 to coincide with the 5 year anniversary of SuperMUC's online-date, pending the lack of adequate air-conditioning in the angry German scientists' offices.

Re:Related News: (2)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364845)

Pretty much what I was thinking... When you get angry and design mechanical things, you start thinking of mean mechanical things.

Angry scientists? (5, Funny)

busyqth (2566075) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364493)

Those scientists wouldn't be angry to have heated offices in the summer. Germany can be downright chilly in the summer. I remember some beautiful July days in Berlin with highs in the 50s.
On top of that, heated offices will make the German scientists think they're in Mallorca or Costa del Sol and they'll be partying all day and night to the hot techno beats.

Re:Angry scientists? (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365269)

If the cooling water comes out hot enough, it can also be used to heat the building's water supply. Or at least it can be used to help out, e.g. keeping the water in the pipes warm.

Re:Angry scientists? (1)

gentryx (759438) | more than 2 years ago | (#40367273)

While that is basically true, I must still add that those offices are occupied by computer scientists. And those are not really known for partying hard, aren't they? And yes, I'm a CS PhD student, too. :-/

Seen on Slashdot (4, Informative)

1sockchuck (826398) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364521)

Slashdot began tracking this one two years ago [slashdot.org] .

"Tracking" (1)

crazyvas (853396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365989)

"Tracking": is that our new euphemism for dupes? "Slashdot tracked eight stories this week." Sounds classy. I like it!

Angry German scientists (0)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364523)

Hehehe, too easy. But don't let me stop you.

Re:Angry German scientists (1, Insightful)

BobandMax (95054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365059)

Yeah, I think the last time we dealt with the products of angry German scientists, it didn't go well.

Re:Angry German scientists (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365859)

It was a lot of angry German scientists that left Germany which gave the allies the edge in WWII and gave the USA it's lead in postwar science.

Re:Angry German scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40366499)

It was a lot of angry German scientists that left Germany which gave the allies the edge in WWII and gave the USA it's lead in postwar science.

True enough. Bring back the Nazis! The alternative has been proven to be even worse!

Re:Angry German scientists (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40369547)

Wow.
I never thought that somebody that has never heard of Einstein would be able to find their way to this site.

Re:Angry German scientists (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40366935)

Yeah, I think the last time we dealt with the products of angry German scientists, it didn't go well.

Well, their products got us to the moon and back. Maybe if we turn up the water temperature, they will produce some again?

Does anyone know how hot the Chinese keep their scientists? It must be pretty high, considering China's recent achievements in space.

"Yo! Turn on the supercomputer, and hose down the scientists! We're all going into outer space!"

Re:Angry German scientists (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#40367095)

Yeah, Einstein and the Manhattan Project...

Might be storing the heat (5, Interesting)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364541)

"Rather than simply being dumped, SuperMUC's waste heat is designed to be converted into building heat during winter. Presumably it is mostly radiated away in summer"

They might be storing the heat rather than dumping it in the summer.

We are building a meat processing facility. Meat processing facilities use a lot of energy for heating water, cooling carcasses, freezing and general storage & air conditioning. To reduce our energy needs we're storing winter in thermal mass so that we can use it during the warm seasons. We're also using the 'waste heat' from our refrigeration compressors to heat water in addition to solar hot water and the backup of propane heating for the water. All of this will save us enormous amounts of money since we won't have to buy as much energy. Good for our carbon foot print and even better for our bottom line as more money will stay in our pockets rather than being dumped into the environment. IBM could do the same.

See http://sugarmtnfarm.com/butchershop [sugarmtnfarm.com]

Try an ice pond (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40366531)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_pond
This idea was used at Princeton Univ. with great success. You put a snowmaking machine over a membrane-lined pond. Then in winter you pump water thru it. You make slush. Eventually you have a basin filled top-to-bottom with ice. Add some insulation in the spring. Pump icewater out all summer long, to a truck radiator located in your building's ductwork, or meat cooler.

Re:Might be storing the heat (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#40367155)

Talk about one-stop shopping, now I can get my high-energy particle simulations done AND get a nice ribeye roast without making separate stops...FINALLY!

Warm water cooling makes sense (3, Interesting)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364689)

My university building is 80m from SuperMUC; there is a large campus at the site with several thousand students and employees. In winter it most definitely makes sense to use the heat from SuperMUC, as the average temperature is about 0 degrees Celsius. In summer it might be a bit more difficult to dissipate heat on hot days, though the average temperature is still only 19 decrees Celsius for July.

Water cooled overclocks have been heating homes. (1)

Zoson (300530) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364705)

This is very simple water cooling. The principle is identical to what is found in high end overclocked systems.

Your coolant only needs to be cooler than the core itself to remove heat. It's been known for a long time that dumping the heat of an overclocked system into a room through a water loop will heat said room.

Even in the dead of winter when it's 0C outside, my *one* overclocked computer can keep my 300SQ ft room heated to above 70 degrees with no additional heat sources.

News? I guess. Definitely a stale idea though.

Re:Water cooled overclocks have been heating homes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364995)

Non-overclocked air cooled systems also heat the room. This article is about heating rooms that the computer isn't in.

Re:Water cooled overclocks have been heating homes (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365333)

The very rough idea is obvious. Going through the specifics of instrumenting a facility, of determining what the acceptable temperature and flow rate are to keep cpu die temperature at an acceptable level (note, if your cpu is still kicking, that may not be enough, voltage leakage increases with temperature, meaning power draw goes up, and you are being inefficient by letting the die get *too* hot. Also, this is the fastest x86 based system in the world. In part because the cooling is adequate to let the cpu frequency bump up more consistently. Go too far in the other direction, and you are spending too much money on cooling for diminishing returns in die temperatures and the benefits lower die temperatures bring.

We are also talking about a plumbing setup designed to keep ~10,000 servers serviceable without getting the conductive water in the wrong places. This means some significant consideration in how the plumbing connects and how to make it quickly disconnect without leaking to replace parts. The risk for a single water cooled system is small, you paid maybe too much for it and a limited volume of water is in the closed loop. This scale is a different thing.

This isn't just some overblown overclocking setup hooked into an aquarium. This is a non-trivial amount of engineering that goes into it.

Re:Water cooled overclocks have been heating homes (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365525)

No, the coolant does not just need to be cooler than the core itself. It has to also be able to absorb heat faster than the core is generating it. This means that all the thermal resistances in the path must be accounted for. Usually this means that the coolant temperature must be MUCH lower than the core, which requires chilling the coolant. The difference with this system is that the incoming water temperature does not need to be particularly cool - it can be 45C/113F, which means it takes less cooling to get it down to that temperature.

Been there, done that (1)

soundguy (415780) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364727)

BFD. I've been heating my house with computers for a couple of decades.

Respect the H2O (3, Interesting)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364745)

People need to understand and respect just how awesome water is as a coolant. The specific heat of the stuff (basically, how much heat you can 'sink' into a gram of it) and its benign, well-understood nature, and the fact that its density only changes a little bit between freezing and boiling points make it quite awesome.

I live in a city with a river through it. I really don't know why they aren't doing cooling via air-to-water heat pumps. It's really absurd to blow fans all day when the river could carry away 100X the heat without too many ill effects.

Re:Respect the H2O (2)

jgfenix (2584513) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364943)

You would decrease the oxygen solubility in water and that would be bad for life in the river if you heated it too much.

Re:Respect the H2O (2)

gallondr00nk (868673) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365077)

I live in a city with a river through it. I really don't know why they aren't doing cooling via air-to-water heat pumps. It's really absurd to blow fans all day when the river could carry away 100X the heat without too many ill effects.

Except for maybe killing most the marine life :P

Re:Respect the H2O (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365223)

What you can do is use the flow of the municipal water source as a heat dump. There are several places around the great lakes doing this since their supply water is in the 35-40F range year round and it's just going to heat up to ground temp on the way to the users anyways.

It's complicated (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40365085)

Water can be a b***h to use in a closed-loop cooling system. If it has any appreciable electrical conductivity, you get electrolytic corrosion of different metals in the cooling loop. If you use 18 megohm DI water, you get corrosion for other reasons. Depending on whether you have exposure to air (like in an evaporative cooling tower), you get bacterial and algal blooms, dirt, dust, pigeon poop - it's not as simple as "pump the water around in a circle and move the heat with it". Many closed loop water cooling systems run about 50% glycol plus other additives to mitigate the nastiness.

Re:Respect the H2O (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40365239)

I live in a city with a river through it. I really don't know why they aren't doing cooling via air-to-water heat pumps. It's really absurd to blow fans all day when the river could carry away 100X the heat without too many ill effects.

Let me guess, you don't work in a nuclear power plant? Or live with one nearby. Otherwise you might have some understanding why it's not as easy as you might think. Even leaving aside the water contaminants, the temperature sensitivity of the marine life is enough that dumping residual waste heat already leads to fish kills.

And yes, that does happier, Mr. Jerry Pournelle who can't understand why the Hudson doesn't freeze over.

Building heat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364753)

That's the way Cray used to do it back in the day. I never worked there, but have worked with a number of Cray employees. I remember hearing descriptions of a Cray 2 being used to provide building heat, and the problems that occurred when it was finally decided to decommission the machine.

It's not a bad idea to make use of what would otherwise be waste heat. My guess is it doesn't work very well in places like Arizona or Qatar, though.

Re:Building heat (1)

cruff (171569) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365815)

We do that at the NCAR Mesa Lab too. It used to be the various Crays that were the heat source, but now it is the IBM Power 6 cluster. They had to install 3,000 gallons of chilled water storage inside the computing center to ensure enough chilled water was present to cool the cluster until it could be shut down if the chillers were lost (i.e. power failure and the backup generators didn't kick work). When the new NWSC compute facility in Wyoming opens, the Mesa Lab will have to do with ordinary natural gas heat.

Use it for hot water too? (2)

amorsen (7485) | more than 2 years ago | (#40364775)

It would be trivial to upgrade 45C water to e.g. 60C with a heat pump. This could be done with high efficiency, certainly COP > 3. Of course an office building might not need that much hot water in summer (maybe for showers for those who bike to work?), but other buildings nearby might. Or use it for district heating, if they have that in the area, but with existing systems that would probably require more like 70C.

Or just get the CPU's running at 300C, of course. Then you could run a steam turbine on the coolant...

Re:Use it for hot water too? (1)

ironman_one (520863) | more than 2 years ago | (#40367283)

Yes this is interesting. Why cant we have components that stands for 110C then we could use the computers as water boilers and get steam out for heating or turbines.

A better algorithm for warming, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40364791)

It is possible to hear someone speaking in a very cold day:

      - Please, try the algorithm for searching prime numbers to heat this place!

Yawn... (3, Informative)

Cyrano de Maniac (60961) | more than 2 years ago | (#40365289)

Decades ago Cray heated their building in Mendota Heights Minnesota entirely using waste heat from the supercomputers. When they built their new campus a few miles away and sold the old building they had to go through some amount of trouble to retrofit it with heating from conventional fuels.

What's old is new again.

Old Idea, we used it in 1980 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40366019)

I worked in a "state of the art" data center that opened in 1980 just outside of Washington DC. Remember that this was shortly after the oil embargoes of the 1970's, so everyone was energy conscious, maybe even more than today. The whole office building was heated in the winter solely by the heat generated by the water cooled IBM mainframes. Unfortunately as replacement equipment became more efficient, and as mainframes in general started being retired, there was no longer enough heat generated from the data center to warm the office building. Eventually they had to retrofit with a traditional heat plant.

Re:Yawn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40368273)

except your mom!

Shower time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40365645)

Crank up ze compiler, Hans. Iz time for shower!

Heat of Vaporization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40367443)

Water has an insanely high heat of vaporization. Why not utilize this property to cause water to evaporate taking enormous sums of heat with it. Tiny amounts of water can take many many Joules of heat away. Water is cheap.

In fact, you can use water to cool your house for really cheap by spraying it on your roof if you live in a location with low humidity. Just check with your local municipalities if it's legal or not because some places with water shortages may outlaw such practices.

This isn't new folks... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40368117)

When I worked @ Goulds Pumps in 1994 doing VB cross-platform to IBM midranges using DB/2 database engines, the oldsters there told me that when they used to use a mainframe (before I got there doing Client-Server design work which they converted over to like so many did) to heat their building via the cooling water used to cool it.

APK

P.S.=> Assuming they were telling me the truth (and I have NO REASON to believe those folks would lie about it)? Again - nothing really new or original here!

(It was an IBM mainframe too from what I can recall but not sure of the model, & they converted down to midrange AS/400 after that to which we applied Client-Server networks to using Microsoft Windows & the middleware needed (IBM ClientAccess libs iirc or RUMBA) + Novell Netware)... apk

Don't Waste the Heat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40368207)

If the facility is producing enough raw heat, use it to supplement the power requirements. I'm sure some engineer can figure out how.

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