On the Heels of an HPC Innovation Excellence Award, “Maya the Bee” Keeps Flying

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Maya the Bee, made with the help of HLRS resources. ©2017 Studio 100 Media. Studio B Animation.

HLRS’ successful collaboration with M.A.R.K. 13 studio continues with “Maya the Bee 2: The Honey Games.”

At this year’s ISC conference, Hyperion Research presented its annual High-Performance Computing (HPC) Innovation Excellence Award. The award highlights small- and medium-sized businesses’ successful use of HPC.


M.A.R.K. 13 and Studio 100 Media took home an award in “HPC User Innovation” for using HPC to calculate about 115,000 computer-generated stereo images (CGI) for the animated film Die Biene Maja (Maya the Bee) on supercomputing resources at the High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS). Each frame was calculated from the perspective of both left and right eye, a prohibitively large computation using traditional computers.

M.A.R.K. 13 began its collaboration in 2013 with HLRS through SICOS-BW GmbH, a company founded by the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and based at HLRS.

SICOS-BW helps small- and medium-sized businesses connect with HPC experts to level the competitive playing field with large, multinational companies, training companies’ staffs how to better integrate computation, simulation, and smart data processes into their respective research areas or product development.

By gaining access to HLRS supercomputing resources, companies like M.A.R.K. 13 drastically reduce their production timelines, and are able to use supercomputing resources in a cost-effective way that would be impossible outside the context of a collaborative agreement.

SICOS-BW also benefits from working with increasingly diverse companies by having a stronger portfolio to attract new users across a wider range of industries.

“To be able to support a company like M.A.R.K. 13 is what our work is all about,” said Dr. Andreas Wierse, CEO of SICOS-BW.“At the same time, we grow to better understand the difficulties that they face, which ultimately helps us strengthen the support that HLRS can provide to such innovative companies.”

Learning from the different challenges during the production of the first movie, HLRS decided to further engage in the field of media. Since 2015, the Media Solution Center BW has collaborated on projects at the intersection of media, art and HPC.

The partnership looks to continue its success, and recently announced that M.A.R.K. 13 would continue working with HLRS as they produce “Maya the Bee – The Honey Games”. The film is still in its early stages of production and has been funded with €750,000 from the MFG Film Fund Baden-Württemberg (Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg). “Maya the Bee 2: The Honey Games” will explore another story of Maya and her friends where Maya is forced to compete in “the honey games” for a chance to save her hive. A teaser trailer for the movie has been released.

—Eric Gedenk