Materials Research: New High-Performance Computer
5/4/2023 Production of the future News

Materials Research: New High-Performance Computer

A new high-performance computer for materials research has now gone into operation at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT): With the 1.2-million-euro computer, researchers can simulate the structural composition of future materials and thus investigate their properties even before they exist. This could enable scientists to develop new materials that can be used in medicine or energy research, for example.

Supercomputer at KIT (Image: Amadeus Bramsiepe, KIT)
"The simulation calculations generate huge amounts of data, for example about material behaviour under specific conditions. With modern data science applications, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, we can gain knowledge about the properties of materials and thus develop new materials much faster," says Britta Nestler, professor of microstructure simulation at the KIT Institute for Applied Materials.

Computing power equivalent to 10,000 laptops

The 1.2-million-euro high-performance computer is in the Materials Science Centre for Energy Research (MZE) on the institute’s South Campus. Half of it was financed by the Structural and Innovation Fund of the state of Baden-Württemberg. The system has a computing power comparable to that of 10,000 laptops. "This computing power enables us to develop new simulation methods even faster," says Nestler. "These include, in particular, multiphysics methods for microstructure simulation on high-performance computers, for data analysis for a prediction of material-property relationships, or the further development of the software developed in Karlsruhe for material simulations on high-performance computers.”

Liquid transport improved by COVID rapid tests

The spectrum of technical applications ranges from medical applications to energy research and geosciences. For example, the researchers at the institute have optimised fluid transport in medical diagnostic tests such as COVID rapid tests by improving the built-in membrane structure. Also, thanks to the simulations, suggestions can be made for the design of geothermal plants, energy storage systems, the storage of CO2, or even the design of efficient groundwater purification.
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