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ZECO presents the SuRE_HPC Fortissimo project. This is a project funded by the EU commission within FP (framework programme) 7th, along with Enginsoft and CINECA, the largest Italian supercomputing centre.



Fortissimo, acronym of Factories of the Future Resources, Technology, Infrastructure and Services for Simulation and Modeling, is a collaborative project that has the aim of enabling European SMEs to get access to the use of simulations services running on a High-Performance-Computing (HPC) Cloud-based infrastructures. It involves many partners and it is coordinated by the University of Edinburg. In particular the Sure_HPC project has the purpose to enable Zeco to be more competitive in the hydro market thanks to HPC cloud simulations for a new Kaplan distribution layout.


The three partners involved in the Sure_HPC project are Zeco, the End User, Enginsoft (application and software expert) and CINECA, who acts as the HPC expert.  CINECA, in addition to being the HPC expert is the project’s HPC provider. The need of an HPC infrastructure, which is the reason behind this EU Funded Project, arise from the necessity, also for a small enterprise, of reaching even more high fidelity simulations and performing several design points before the design phases of a project, to evaluate best efficient and cost saving solutions in shortest possible time. This is quite a problem for a SME, who has access to normal Workstation solutions with a single solver license. Sure_HPC project resolve a typical example of this problem: Zeco need to design a new distributor for a Kaplan turbine, changing the original radial layout to an axial one, in order to obtain a more versatile turbine, compatible with different layouts, with cheaper infrastructures but without affecting performances. And this purpose must be reached through tenths 3D transient simulations and the time required (about 2 year estimated) makes the project unfeasible with a standard local-machine approach and the only way to go is the HPC. Indeed a 90% time reduction has been estimated switching from “in-house” simulations to external HPC solution.




The state of the art HPC system is an IBM Bluegene/Q called FERMI equipped with 163,840 Power A2 computing cores at 1.6GHz for a peak performance of 2.1PFlops (ranked #7 of TOP500 in June 2012). GALILEO, the HPC system used for Sure_HPC project is a Tier-1 system, introduced in CINECA on January 2015. It is devoted to scientific computing on the basis of national and European proposals. On Galileo also special HPC technical oriented projects are developed in collaboration with CINECA specialists.

This Tier-1 supercomputer is among  the fastest supercomputer available to Italian industrial and public researchers. It is equipped with up-to date Intel accelerators (Intel Phi 7120p), NVIDIA accelerators (NVIDIA Tesla K80), as well as top level programming environment and a number of Application Tools required by the projects activated on it.


The next steps in the Sure_HPC project are the scalability studies a Design of Experiment (DOE) analysis, in the  order of 100s design points, in order to estimate the relation between input & output with a Response Surface Methodology (RSM) and with the identification of the best design and Pareto Front

With the Fortissimo Sure_HPC project, Zeco will gain the ability to access cost-effective HPC services for the optimization and development of new turbines.