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December 15, 2021

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Computing center named after Lenovo chief unveiled at SJTU

A computing center named after Lenovo chairman and chief executive Yang Yuanqing was officially unveiled at the Tsung-Dao Lee Institute of Shanghai Jiao Tong University yesterday.

Its high-performance computing system Siyuan-1 was built and delivered with a 100-million yuan (US$15.7 million) personal donation by Yang to his alma mater, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, in April to celebrate its 125th anniversary.

He said the gift was not only to express his warm feelings towards his alma mater, but also to help improve the university’s computing capabilities, facilitate basic research and innovation, support the cultivation of talent, and help tackle common challenges faced by humanity.

Though covering only 300 square meters, the center boasts a computing speed at 6 quadrillions times per second, ranking No. 1 among similar facilities in all Chinese universities and No. 132 in the top 500 high-performance computers around the world, exceeding those of Harvard, Cambridge and other famous international universities, according to Tong Fuyao, senior vice president of Lenovo Group.

The center features ultra-high computational density and power consumption density. With only 14 cabinets, it’s as capable as those with 70 units.

“Its computational density is five times that of ordinary computer centers while its size is less than one tenth of the latter,” said Tong.

As the world’s top supplier for high-performance computing solutions, Lenovo is using its liquid-cooling technology at the center. Compared with traditional air-cooling systems, it can reduce energy costs by over 40 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by 42 percent, enhancing computing power while contributing to China’s carbon neutrality goals.

According to Tong, 90 percent of the heat produced by the computing devices can be carried away by the flowing warm water in cold boards, which can reduce energy consumption of fans. Meanwhile, the flowing water at 50 to 60 degrees Celsius can dissipate heat from the environment, saving energy costs possibly caused by using air conditioners.

The system can also collect extra heat to serve other facilities in the building, such as heating supply for the building hall, heating water in the kitchen, dehumidification in basements and temperature control in other labs. It is expected to compensate another 950 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

“Finally, the computing center, the most powerful in Chinese universities, has been launched to serve basic science research and major programs of my alma mater,” said Yang. “I’m as excited as I was 40 years ago when I received the admission letter from SJTU.”

The beautiful lab building of Tsung-Dao Lee Institute, home of the computing center and featuring a dome in the middle, was officially put into use on December 3.

The institute was set up by SJTU in November 2016, following a proposal submitted to the Chinese government in 2014 by Chinese-American physicist Tsung-Dao Lee, who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1957, to create a research institute similar to the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Focusing on key scientific puzzles in the fields of particle and nuclear physics, astronomy and astrophysics, and quantum basic science, the institute has set up several research teams led by famous scientists, attracting many young researchers to join their groundbreaking basic research in several cutting-edge areas over the past five years.

The computing center will be a new important platform for the institute, following its experimental platforms for research on dark matter and neutrinos, according to Zhang Jie, former SJTU president and new TDLI director.


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