Human Brain Project hardware

Human Brain Project

The overall goal of the High Performance Computing Platform subproject is to provide the HBP Consortium and the broader European neuroscience community with supercomputing, Big Data and Cloud capabilities at the exascale, as well as the system software, middleware, interactive computational steering and visualisation support necessary to create and simulate multi-scale brain models and to address the hard-scaling challenges of whole brain modelling.

The subproject will utilise innovative HPC technology as detailed in the Exascale Roadmap of the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) of the European Technology Platform for High Performance Computing (ETP4HPC). In order to meet the specific challenging requirements of the HBP, the subproject will carry out additional specific research in hardware and software thus contributing to path-breaking ICT technology research. Key topics for research will include novel accelerator technologies addressing highly scalable computational challenges, the use of hierarchical storage-class memory to increase available memory by more than an order of magnitude per core, and the realisation of interactive supercomputing at the exascale level, in particular interactive computational steering, visualisation and Big Data integration.

The HBP hardware roadmap, aligned with the roadmap of the ETP4HPC, requires the exploitation of innovative energy-efficient technologies. The development system and the central architecture for simulations of the brain model will include hierarchical storage-class memory technologies with fully interactive computational steering and visualisation capabilities. It is planned to reach exascale performance by the end of 2022 using technologies complemented by brain-inspired communication and computing sub-systems.

During the ramp-up phase, the HBP will negotiate with the PRACE Tier-0 organisations GCS and GENCI, which have expressed their interest to add in-kind support to the HPC Platform. The plan is to complement the resources for specific simulations as virtual robotics and conceptual brain models. A further high priority goal is to establish a PRACE community access programme, to be negotiated in the ramp-up phase. This will allow access to the Tier-0 capability of the HPC Platform, reviewed by the HBP's International Access Board, via PRACE services. Formal agreements with PRACE that will benefit both sides will be established during the ramp-up phase.

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