University of Stuttgart and Hewlett Packard Enterprise to Build Exascale Supercomputer

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Prof. Michael Resch (Director, HLRS), Anna Steiger (Chancellor, University of Stuttgart), and Heiko Meyer (Chief Sales Officer, HPE) signed the contract for Hunter and Herder in a ceremony at HLRS on December 19.

Stuttgart, Germany — December 19, 2023 — The University of Stuttgart and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have announced an agreement to build two new supercomputers at the High-Performance Computing Center of the University of Stuttgart (HLRS).

In the first stage, a transitional supercomputer, called Hunter, will begin operation in 2025. This will be followed in 2027 with the installation of Herder, an exascale system that will provide a significant expansion of Germany’s high-performance computing (HPC) capabilities. Hunter and Herder will offer researchers world-class infrastructure for simulation, artificial intelligence (AI), and high-performance data analytics (HPDA) to power cutting-edge academic and industrial research in computational engineering and the applied sciences.


The total combined cost for Hunter and Herder is €115 million. Funding will be provided through the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS), the alliance of Germany's three national supercomputing centers. Half of this funding will be provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and the second half by the State of Baden-Württemberg's Ministry of Science, Research, and Arts.

Hunter to Herder: a two-step climb to exascale

Hunter will replace HLRS’s current flagship supercomputer, Hawk. It is conceived as a stepping stone to enable HLRS’s user community to transition to the massively parallel, GPU-accelerated structure of Herder.

Hunter will be based on the HPE Cray EX4000 supercomputer, which is designed to deliver exascale performance to support large-scale workloads across modeling, simulation, AI, and HPDA. Each of the 136 HPE Cray EX4000 nodes will be equipped with four HPE Slingshot high-performance interconnects. Hunter will also leverage the next generation of Cray ClusterStor, a storage system purpose-engineered to meet the demanding input/output requirements of supercomputers, and the HPE Cray Programming Environment, which offers programmers a comprehensive set of tools for developing, porting, debugging, and tuning applications.

Hunter will raise HLRS’s peak performance to 39 petaFLOPS (39*1015 floating point operations per second), an increase from the 26 petaFLOPS possible with its current supercomputer, Hawk. More importantly, it will transition away from Hawk’s emphasis on CPU processors to make greater use of more energy-efficient GPUs.

Hunter will be based on the AMD Instinct™ MI300A accelerated processing unit (APU), which combines CPU and GPU processors and high-bandwidth memory into a single package. By reducing the physical distance between different types of processors and creating unified memory, the APU enables fast data transfer speeds, impressive HPC performance, easy programmability and great energy efficiency. This will slash the energy required to operate Hunter in comparison to Hawk by approximately 80% at peak performance.

Herder will be designed as an exascale system capable of speeds on the order of one quintillion (1018) FLOPS, a major leap in power that will open exciting new opportunities for key applications run at HLRS. The final configuration, based on accelerator chips, will be determined by the end of 2025.

The combination of CPUs and accelerators in Hunter and Herder will require that current users of HLRS’s supercomputer adapt existing code to run efficiently. For this reason, HPE will collaborate with HLRS to support its user community in adapting software to harness the full performance of the new systems.

Supporting scientific excellence in Stuttgart, Germany, and beyond

HLRS's leap to exascale is part of the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing's national strategy for the continuing development of the three GCS centers: The upcoming JUPITER supercomputer at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre will be designed for maximum performance and will be the first exascale system in Europe in 2025, while the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre is planning a system for widescale usage in 2026. The focus of HLRS’s Hunter and Herder supercomputers will be on computational engineering and industrial applications. Together, these systems will be designed to ensure that GCS provides optimized resources of the highest performance class for the entire spectrum of cutting-edge computational research in Germany.

For researchers in Stuttgart, Hunter and Herder will open many new opportunities for research across a wide range of applications in engineering and the applied sciences. For example, they will enable the design of more fuel-efficient vehicles, more productive wind turbines, and new materials for electronics and other applications. New AI capabilities will open new opportunities for manufacturing and offer innovative approaches for making large-scale simulations faster and more energy efficient. The systems will also support research to address global challenges like climate change, and could offer data analytics resources that help public administration to prepare for and manage crisis situations. In addition, Hunter and Herder will be state-of-the-art computing resources for Baden-Württemberg’s high-tech engineering community, including the small and medium-sized enterprises that form the backbone of the regional economy.


Mario Brandenburg (Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry for Education and Research, BMBF)
“Funded by the BMBF and the State of Baden-Württemberg, the expansion of the computing infrastructure of the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing at its Stuttgart location is an important step on the road to more computing power for Germany’s research and innovation landscape. The unique concept behind the computing architecture at HLRS will ensure that not just science but also industry, SMEs, and start-ups will have first-class conditions developing new innovations. This expansion also means increased computing capacity for the development of AI and a strengthening of Germany’s AI infrastructure, in accordance with the federal research ministry’s AI action plan.“

Petra Olschowski (Baden-Württemberg Minister of Science, Research, and Arts)
“High-performance computing means rapid development. As the peak performance of supercomputers grows, they are as crucial for cutting-edge science as for innovative products and processes in key industrial sectors. Baden-Württemberg is both a European leader and internationally competitive in the fields of supercomputing and artificial intelligence. As part of the University of Stuttgart, HLRS thus has a key role to play — it is not just the impressive performance of the supercomputer but also the methodological knowledge that the center has assembled that helps our cutting-edge computational research to achieve breathtaking results, for example in climate protection or for more environmentally sustainable mobility.“

Prof. Dr. Wolfram Ressel (Rector, University of Stuttgart)
“With Hunter and Herder, the University of Stuttgart continues its commitment to high-performance computing as the foundation of its successful excellence strategy. This expansion will especially strengthen Stuttgart’s leading position in research using computer simulation and artificial intelligence.”

Anna Steiger (Chancellor, University of Stuttgart)
“Supporting cutting-edge science while maximizing energy efficiency is a central concern for everyone at the University of Stuttgart. Hunter and Herder constitute a decisive reaction to the challenges of limiting CO2 emissions, and Herder will deliver not only dramatically higher computing performance but also excellent energy performance.”

Prof. Dr. Michael Resch (Director, High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart)
“HPE has been a reliable partner since 2019, and we are excited to be making the jump with them to the next order of magnitude in computing performance, the exaFLOP. Using GPU technology from AMD, we are also confident that we will be well prepared for the challenges of the future.”

Justin Hotard (Executive Vice President and General Manager, HPC, AI & Labs, Hewlett Packard Enterprise)
“HLRS has demonstrated the power of supercomputing in research and applied science, and we are honored to have been with them on this journey. We look forward to building on our collaboration to pave the way to exascale for HLRS using the HPE Cray EX supercomputer. The new system will enable scientific and technological innovation to accelerate economic growth.”

Mario Silveira (Corporate Vice President OEM Sales, AMD)
”AMD is pleased to expand our collaboration with HLRS in Stuttgart and HPE. We are providing our cutting-edge AMD Instinct™ MI300A datacenter accelerator to the Hunter project, aiming to enhance performance, efficiency, and data transfer speeds. This initiative will establish a state-of-the-art infrastructure tailored for research, AI workloads, and simulations. Anticipated for arrival by 2025, Hunter aligns with HLRS's ambitious exascale plans for Germany, showcasing our commitment to advancing technological capabilities and fostering innovation together with our partners in the years to come.”

Dr. Bastian Koller (General Manager, HLRS)
“Increasingly it’s not just faster hardware but optimal usage of the system that is the greatest performance factor in simulation and artificial intelligence. We are particularly excited that we have found a globally leading partner for these topics in Hewlett Packard Enterprise, who together with AMD will open up new horizons of performance for our clients.”

About the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS)

The High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) was established in 1996 as Germany’s first national high-performance computing center. As a research institution affiliated with the University of Stuttgart and a founding member of the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing, HLRS provides computing resources for academic users and industry. HLRS operates state of the art high-performance computing systems and provides advanced training in HPC programming and simulation. The center also conducts research to address key problems facing the future of supercomputing. Among HLRS's areas of expertise are parallel programming, numerical methods for HPC, visualization, cloud computing, high-performance data analytics, and artificial intelligence. Users of HLRS computing systems are active across a wide range of disciplines, with an emphasis on computational engineering and applied science.

Expert contact

Prof. Dr. Michael Resch, High-Performance Computing Center of the University of Stuttgart (HLRS),
Tel.: +49 (0) 711 / 685-87200, resch(at)

Press contact

Sophia Honisch, Head of Public Relations
+49 (0) 711 / 685-68038

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