Tech focus: cooling


New processors and GPU technology continue to demand

more power than the previous generations, combining this with increasingly dense architectures requires cooling solutions such as liquid or immersion cooling. The demand for this technology is also increasing due to the use of GPU set-ups in both HPC and AI/ML environments, leading to a push for cooling technologies to support more dense and powerful systems. The last several years have

seen a move from air to liquid and some users have also moved from RDHx to more direct cooling solutions, but the rise in density is pushing requirements higher and making alternative technologies economically viable for HPC and AI type workloads. Elizabeth Langer, R&D engineering manager, thermal business at CPC, comments on the rise of liquid cooling and the trends that CPC sees in the current market: ‘With the increase of computing power in smaller and smaller spaces, the density of the processing and intensity of the heat that it is producing is unprecedented. ‘Air cooling is no longer a viable option because it simply is not as efficient as liquid cooling. It’s physics. Water is 24 times more efficient at

6 Scientific Computing World Spring 2020

transferring heat than air is; for the same volume, water can hold 3,200 times more heat than air can. The demands of the computing power and cooling needs in racks require the use of liquid cooling solutions.’ CPC is a company that specialises in the development of components and solutions for liquid cooling technology. They are seeing increased use of their technology in the HPC and AI markets. ‘CPC is predicting robust

growth in liquid cooling needs based upon growth trends in HPC,’ added Langer. ‘With today’s supercomputers, it is now possible to solve previously unsolvable

”Air cooling is no longer a viable option because it simply is not as efficient as liquid cooling.”

questions. On the non- academic side, driven by market forces to win with customers through hyper customisation, there is greater “invisible” integration of modelling and predictive analysis into everyone’s lives. Demands for convenience, accuracy and speed are at the fore. So, on the two

fronts of what is possible and what is being demanded, requirements for computing power will only continue to increase.’ Immersion cooling

companies such as Asperitas and TMGcore are also experiencing similar demand for immersion-based solutions in HPC and AI. Jake Mertel, chief

technology officer at TMGcore, details the company’s rise to develop HPC and AI two- phase immersion cooling technology. The company had originally developed a solution called ‘Everest’ for blockchain applications. Mertel said: ‘During the time that we developed that product, primarily for our own internal use, we took that experience and turned it into something that we call “Otto”. That is a two-phase immersion cooling datacentre platform designed to provide a fully modular cooling, power, communications, and autonomous server

management functionality in a packaged form factor. HPC is becoming more and more prevalent, we see a lot of focus on “the edge” and the use of both learning and inference on the edge. The deployment of what would have traditionally been types of server workloads that would only exist in the kind of hyperscale clusters in certain portions of the datacentre that were very expensive to cool and very expensive to maintain and operate. Now we are seeing demand for applications like that very close to end-users so the type of GPU oriented applications can take place closer to where people are using them, reducing latency and therefore providing better user experience.’ Maikel Bouricius, marketing manager for Asperitas, a company that specalises in single-phase immersion cooling, has also noticed the demand for compute closer to the user: ‘What they demand now is a lot of compute and in

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