Not Your Average Datacenter

(By: Allison Brooks)

Click here to see the virtual tour

In 2006 the University of Laval in Quebec, Canada had an imaginative notion to develop a High Performance Computing (HPC) Center inside of their decommissioned Van De Graaff particle accelerator silo. Fast forward 3 years later and that burgeoning idea has become a reality with the help of Sun Microsystems and Winter Street Architects.

Winter Street Architects was retained to support design and coordination of the one of a kind HPC at the University of Laval campus. The Laval HPC facility’s design was adapted inside of the accelerator silo in a circular footprint, and posed unique challenges to the design and coordination of computing, building and system components. Utilizing an integrated design approach assisted by Building Information Modeling and working in close collaboration with the diverse team, Winter Street was able to precisely coordinate the components for a seamless construction process.

The server racks’ unique circular configuration is both functional and striking. The structure’s 3-level cylindrical floor plan was ideal for deploying resourceful cooling techniques; including free cooling and heat reuse, where the heat produced from the computer/server racks is recaptured to warm other parts of the campus. This generates an expected PUE of less than 1, resulting in an energy footprint far smaller than traditional designs.

Used to connect a 1,000 people and foster research in physics and other sciences, the Laval HPC is part of a larger academic research consortium in Canada. It goes online later this month and is a rising star of the HPC community. Take the Virtual Tour and check out the Interactive Case Study online at now!

UPDATE: Project Architect Annette Popp, AIA LEED AP was honored with a Women in Design Award at Build Boston in November 2009 for her contributions to the coordination and implementation of the CLUMEQ Netzero Supercomputer!

2 Responses to “Not Your Average Datacenter”
  1. alexboudreau says:

    Innovation at its best. Leveraging existing technologies to create a new and unique model. This is a great example of what can be done in the tech industry to reduce our carbon footprint and follow a more sustainable model.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Alexandre Boudreau

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