Serving all Thuringian universities: New IT Service Centre at TU Ilmenau

- EN - DE
The newly constructed Grace-Hopper-Bau at the TU Ilmenau houses the IT Centre
The newly constructed Grace-Hopper-Bau at the TU Ilmenau houses the IT Centre
At Technische Universität Ilmenau, the new IT Service Center was officially inaugurated today (Oct. 23, 2023) - one of two IT centers in Thuringia that use state-of-the-art technology to provide IT applications and services to all ten of Thuringia’s state universities. Built over a four-year construction period, the new Grace-Hopper-Bau at TU Ilmenau also serves as a university computer center and a technological platform for research and teaching. The construction project on the TU Ilmenau campus was financed by the Free State of Thuringia with a good 19 million euros, 80 percent of which came from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The IT center at the TU Ilmenau provides the ten state universities in Thuringia with central IT applications: Server and computer infrastructure, specialized IT systems, e-learning systems, Internet core network nodes, systems for online collaboration and high-performance computing. In addition, it provides numerous IT services, such as the Moodle eLearning system, including OpenCast , a management tool for video recordings. In addition, the IT center procures hardware and software for all universities and offers IT legal advice.

In addition to server and technical rooms, the new building houses offices, computer pools and several laboratories on 2100 square meters, including one for virtual reality applications of the "Ilmenau Interactive Immersive Technologies Center I3TC " recently established at the TU Ilmenau, a research center for innovative virtual reality and augmented reality technologies. The IT center’s modern technical infrastructure is impressive: users have access to a storage capacity of more than 1.5 petabytes, or one and a half million gigabytes. A virtualization infrastructure with virtually provided hardware, software, storage and network components enables flexible work operations. Four PC pools are available for teaching, and all seminar and meeting rooms are equipped with the latest technology for hybrid working.

In addition to supplying the Thuringian universities with IT applications and IT service center also offers high-tech for research and teaching at the TU Ilmenau on a technological top level. A high-performance computer cluster with 4500 processor cores, a 20-tera-byte main memory, 40 graphics processors and a data storage capacity of two petabytes enables the most demanding research projects with very high computing capacity, which could not be carried out with conventional technology until now: in the field of energy technology quantum chemical calculations for organic or inorganic solar cells, for climate research simulations of turbulent atmospheric flows and for humanoid robots, which are taught with the help of artificial intelligence to grasp an object like a human.

special PC pools of the IT Service Center, courses are held at the TU Ilmenau. For example, students of Automotive Engineering can now gain knowledge of 3D design software or virtual product development in hands-on lessons, students of biomedical engineering about image processing in medicine and mechanical engineering students about the simulation of welding processes. Biomedical Engineering program on image processing in medicine, and mechanical engineering students on the simulation of welding processes.

In order to realize the technical infrastructure for such different requirements, highly demanding challenges had to be mastered in the construction project. For example, no noise from the very loud central server room was allowed to penetrate into the I3TC laboratories directly above. Both areas were structurally decoupled, which, together with an elaborate insulation technique, now enables undisturbed basic virtual reality research. A fully redundant technical infrastructure ensures that data network, power and air conditioning are permanently available even if individual components fail. To rule out data loss at all times for central IT services, the entire building can be operated autonomously in an emergency. Sustainable operation of the IT center is ensured by energy-efficient systems controlled by state-of-the-art building automation, and a photovoltaic system to supply solar energy is planned for 2024.

The official inauguration of the IT Service Center at TU Ilmenau took place today (Oct. 23, 2023) in the presence of Susanna Karawanskij, Thuringia’s Minister of Infrastructure and Agriculture, and Wolfgang Tiefensee, Minister of Economics, Science and Digital Society. Minister Karawanskij highlighted the significant funding of the construction project by the state with a good 19 million euros: "We made the investment with the perspective that all universities in Thuringia will benefit from it - and this is clearly also a commitment to the future of Thuringia as a high chair location in general."

Wolfgang Tiefensee focused on the importance of the Grace-Hopper-Bau for the TU Ilmenau: "The computer center represents the infrastructural heart of Ilmenau Technical University. After all, science and research are more dependent than ever on an excellent IT supply that can process and store ever larger amounts of data. The Grace-Hopper-Bau can do just that. It thus contributes to further improving study conditions and making studying in Ilmenau even more attractive."