A new member of Ghent University makes an entrance: welcome to supercomputer Hortense!

(27-09-2020) Boasting a RAM memory of almost 100 TB, a top performance reaching 3.3 petaflops, ... Hortense has quite a list of accolades. From 2021 you will also be able to count on her amazing powers of calculation for your own research.

The new Tier1 supercomputer from VSC, the Flemish Supercomputer Centre, will be accommodated in the data centre on the Sterre campus at Ghent University as from the end of 2020. We are naturally really proud of this fact. After all, it will be the new ‘superbrain’ of our Flemish universities, and a prestige project of the highest level. The HPC Ghent University team at DICT will take charge of its management and maintenance. Ghent University’s data centre, which was purpose built in 2010 for the very first Flemish Tier1 supercomputer which moved there in 2012, will be upgraded this year to allow the newest Tier1 to operate in the best possible conditions. 

Hortense – find out below why this name was chosen – will be the largest of its kind in all of Flanders. She boasts the following features:

  • over 44,000 CPU cores (processors)
  • 88 GPUs or graphical processing units
  • a total RAM operating memory of almost 100 TB (approximately 100 times all the documents in the Boekentoren!)
  • a storage capacity of over 3 PB (times the above by 30!)

When running at full speed, Hortense can achieve up to 3.3 petaflops, or 3,300,000,000,000,000 operations per second! This probably makes her one of the 500 fastest supercomputers in the world.

Who may use this supercomputer?

The Tier1 supercomputer from the VSC is available for use by all Flemish researchers in all research domains. Computer time can be requested for free, but it must be linked to a project. Your project request must first be accepted by a special appraisal commission.

You can find out how to make a request on the VSC website. This site also features numerous inspiring cases and success stories relating to Hortense’s predecessors. 

Further questions about a Tier1 project proposal? Don’t hesitate to contact for support or to assess your Tier1 proposal.

Why Hortense?Nicole-Rein Lepaute ("Hortense")

“The name ‘Hortense’ refers to Nicole-Reine Lepaute - nicknamed Hortense -, born in 1723”, explains Ewald Pauwels, coordinator at the HPC Ghent University team. “She was one of the first famous human computers (literally: ‘calculators’), who conducted an array of tough astronomical calculations. One of her great accomplishments was a more accurate forecast of the arrival of Halley’s comet. Sadly, her story says much about historic underappreciation of women in science. Her significant contribution in calculating the journey of Halley’s comet was ‘forgotten’ in its initial publication.”