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How do you build your next supercomputer without surrounding it with tons of hot plates, heatsinks, fans, air conditions or water pipes? Come join us at the 3M booth at SC13 in Denver and we will be extremely happy to show you how.

We'll also show you how to keep it cool with very little energy spent for cooling, and how your next supercomputer infrastructure might be the last one you have to build for a long time (immersion cooling tanks are universal, you can remove the old hardware and replace it with new one, without changing anything else).

Event Details

SC13
Colorado Convention Center
Denver, Colorado
Booth#3728
http://sc13.supercomputing.org

PS: You'll still need a water pipe or two with immersion cooling. We are working on clever ways to get rid of the piping too ;-)

 

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As you may have read in the news, the 41st semiannual TOP500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers was announced a few days ago at the 2013 International Supercomputing Conference in Germany. Weighing in at a hefty 33.86 Petaflops on the Linpack benchmark, China's Tianhe-2 Supercomputer packs quite the computing punch, and now holds the title of "World's Most Powerful Supercomputer" - at least for the time being. It's more than 3,100,000 computing cores are made up of 16,000 nodes, each containing two Intel Xeon Ivy-Bridge processors and three Xeon Phi co-processors.

 

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By guest poster Phillip E. Tuma of the 3M Company

Use of passive 2-phase immersion for computing equipment is largely limited to IBM's exploration of the technology for cooling bipolar chips in the 1970s.  The liquid encapsulation module or LEM, for example, was a 10×10 array of 4.6×4.6mm chips immersed in C6F14 liquid that boiled on the bare silicon. A vulnerability of this technique is the phenomena of incipience overshoot, a large temperature excursion before the inception of boiling that can allow a chip to overheat or stress it mechanically during the sudden temperature drop that follows.  This issue was overcome by modifying the silicon surface with sandblasting followed by an aqueous KOH treatment.  It was also observed that fluid-borne contaminants could distill out of the fluid onto or under the chip.  Under-filling with beeswax kept contaminants away from the C-4 solder bump connections.

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We've been asked for a few real pictures of our immersion cooling systems. While our rack mountable projects are still confidential and we can't publish any photos, have a look at the gallery in the Building Immersion-1 page. And while we do indeed use glass for small immersion cooling demo setups, rest assured that our finished immersion cooling tanks don't look anything like fish tanks (you don't want a couple of Kilowatts in a glass tank, trust me).

Here are two more pictures of some of the prototypes we've built last year. As you can see, immersion cooling can be very simple, especially considering that each of these tanks can hold what normally would go into a couple of noisy 19" server racks.

 

 

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My colleague Alex wrote about winter in Hong Kong in an earlier blog post - and it's already over again. Temperatures have been on the rise from mild winter temperatures of 18°C for more than a month already, but today it came in the radio that we're at 28° Celsius (82.4° Fahrenheit) and a whopping 95% relative humidity. This compared to the snow chaos in Europe with airports shutting down just a few days ago in the middle of March... Guess it's quite obvious why we moved to Hong Kong - I was at the beach yesterday, basking in the sun!

Maybe one should draft up a new PUE (Power Usage Efficiency) metric for data centers and supercomputers which is relative to the annual temperature and humidity average of the respective location - just like "relative humidity" in relation to temperature. It's no surprise that Hong Kong's average PUE is at 2.52 according to Digital Realty's 2012 survey on 101 major data centers in Hong Kong. I wonder what lower PUE than the current 1.02 Immersion-1 would achieve with such a new "relative PUE" metric...

 

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 Our Address:
Global Trade Centre
Units 305-307, 3/F
15 Wing Kin Road 
Kwai Chung, N.T.
Hong Kong

Contact Us:
Phone +852 3145 0055
Fax +852 3010 0802

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Global Projects

Hong Kong is one of the fastest-paced cities in the world. It has remained the world's freest economy since 1995, with low tax, no import and export restrictions, free trade and travel. Being located in the financial powerhouse and tech hub of Asia, we are well equipped to work on global projects. No matter how big, or small.

Hot & Humid

Most would consider Hong Kong's cramped living conditions, sky high property prices, and hazy skies as very challenging. When it comes to data centers, hot and humid climates are one of the biggest problems too. Hong Kong's power hungry infrastructure is a major disaster for the people's wallet and the environment. On the bright side, it's habitats like this that push companies to go the extra mile and make a change.