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Human Brain Project (HBP) pre-commercial procurement has entered its final phase

Jülich, 1 October 2015 –The pre-commercial procurement of research and development services for interactive supercomputers has successfully entered its third and final phase. Interactivity will be a key feature of a future high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure for brain research. After selection in July 2015, two bidding consortia comprising leading providers of HPC solutions, namely Cray and a consortium of IBM and NVIDIA, have now each been awarded a contract. Within one year, both contractors will deliver pilot systems that will be deployed and operated at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC).

Future large-scale brain simulations on supercomputers will need to be interactively visualized and controlled by scientists. The European Human Brain Project has formulated a vision in which interactivity will turn supercomputers into scientific instruments, enabling in silico experiments on virtual human brains. This new requirement will affect the whole system design, including the hardware architecture, visualization capabilities, resource management and many other aspects.

In April 2014, Forschungszentrum Jülich, leading the creation of the HBP’s High Performance Analytics & Computing Platform, started a pre-commercial procurement (PCP) of innovative supercomputing technology solutions for the HBP. The PCP, which is co-funded by the European Union, is a competitive process consisting of multiple phases. At the end of each phase, the suppliers with the most promising solutions are selected for the following phase.

In July 2015, Forschungszentrum Jülich, supported by its partners in the HBP, selected two suppliers for the third and final phase of the PCP. Since then, contracts have been concluded with Cray as well as with a consortium of IBM and NVIDIA. During this last phase both contractors will implement technologies for interactive supercomputing and deliver pilot systems, which will demonstrate the readiness of the developed technologies and their integration into a scalable HPC architecture for a representative set of HBP use cases. Both pilot systems will be deployed and operated in a production environment at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre. The PCP will end with an evaluation phase in January 2017.

The PCP is a key step towards the realization of a leading supercomputing facility that will become part of the HBP’s High Performance Analytics & Computing Platform. The goal is to provide a system with compute capabilities of about 50 Petaflop/s and an exceptional memory capacity of up to 20 petabytes, allowing interactive visualization and steering of large-scale brain simulations.

Further Information:

Pre-Commercial Procurement (EU)

Human Brain Project (HBP)

Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC)


Prof. Dirk Pleiter
Jülich Supercomputing Centre
Phone: +49 2461 61-9327


Tobias Schlößer
Phone: +49 2461 61-4771