Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

High Performance Computing & E-science

GRApe + mpraCE (GRACE)

GRACE is a cooperation project, supported by the Volkswagen-Stiftung, with the Technischen Informatik, Lehrstuhl V of the university of Mannheim and the working group Computational Astrophysics at the Universitätssternwarte München. The hybrid-structure of this new type of super-computer combines three elements: a normal 64 prozessor Beowulf PC cluster, special developed computer hardware with fixed-wired gravitational force computation (GRAPE), developed in a project of Japanese astrophysicists at the Univ. of Tokyo, and flexible reprogrammable chips (FPGA, field programmable gate array). A peak performance of 4 Tflop/s computational speed is actually realized for the numerical modelling of dense stellar systems (young star clusters, galactic nuclei with binary Black Holes) and the simulation of turbulence and star formation in galaxies and the interstellar medium. In order to reach this performance for our applications with a usual High Performance Computer a ten times larger peak performance would be necessary, realized today only by the three fastest computers in the Top 500 list.

German Astrophysical Virtual Observatory (GAVO)

GAVO is the German contribution to the Virtual Observatory and member of the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA). IVOA's mission is the development of standards and software to facilitate structured and worldwide access to astronomical resources like data, archives, services, programs, etc. Within IVOA, GAVO's activities focus on simulations and theory as well as catalogue archives. Examples include providing interactive and intuitive access to results of n-body simulations or spectra of hot stars and the publication of astrometric or photometric catalogues. GAVO is funded by the German federal research administration (BMBF); further participants are Universität Tübingen, Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik (MPE) in Garching and Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam (AIP).


AstroGrid-D is a research project in the area "e-Science" and "Grid middleware" for the support of scientific work in the context of the German D-Grid-Initiative. As interdisciplinary partners in the AstroGrid-D, the larger German astronomical research institutes, grid-specific research groups of computer science as well as some high speed computing centres have joined their efforts to get together some strategic goals, which will lead to a general and sustainable Grid-infrastructure, that will be available for all German scientists.


As a D-Grid project, WissGrid’s objective is to establish long-term organizational and technical Grid structures for the academic world. WissGrid combines the heterogeneous needs from a variety of scientific disciplines and develops concepts for the long-term sustainable use of the organizational and technical grid infrastructure. In this context, the project aims to strengthen the organizational cooperation of scientists in the grid and to lower the entry barriers for new community grids. Three key tasks have been identified from WissGrid’s objectives:

1. Operational model for academic grid users

2. Blueprints for new community grids

3. Long-term storage for research data

The ZAH (Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg) is active in the creation of blueprints for the integration of new communities in scientific Grid technology and in the development of sustainable strategies for long-term preservation of research data. In this context, we can build on the experience of the Grid community AstroGrid-D and use the proximity to the German Astrophysical Virtual Observatory GAVO.

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