Container Data Center form a silo cylinder or shipping container box

Clumeq has a new super computer repurposing their decommissioned Van de Graff particle accelerator.

The Quebec site is on the campus of Université Laval inside a renovated van de Graaf silo, with an innovative cylindrical layout for the data center. This cluster will feature upwards of 12,000 processing elements. Compute racks will be distributed among three floors of concentrical rings with a total surface area of 2,700 sq.ft. with an IT capacity of approximately 600 kW.

DataCenterKnowledge picked up the news.

Wild New Design: Data Center in A Silo

December 10th, 2009 : Rich Miller


A diagram of the design of the CLUMEQ Colossus supercomputer, from a recent presentation by Marc Parizeau of CLUMEQ.

Here’s one of the most unusual data center designs we’ve seen. The CLUMEQsupercomputing center in Quebec has worked with Sun Microsystems to transform a huge silo into a data center. The cylindrical silo, which is 65 feet high and 36 feet wide with two-foot thick concrete walls, previously housed a Van de Graaf particle accelerator. When the accelerator was decommissioned, CLUMEQ decided to convert the facility into a high-performance computing (HPC) cluster known as Colossus.

Here is the youtube video.

This idea may seem strange, but it is part of connecting the building to IT equipment.  Microsoft just did this showing their Windows Azure Containers with the cooling system integrated in the container.


Sun has their own page on Clumeq.

When supercomputing consortium CLUMEQ designed its high-performance computing (HPC) system in Quebec, it was able to house it in the silo of a former particle accelerator on the Université Laval campus. The structure's 3-level cylindrical floor plan was ideal for cooling the 56 standard-size racks, and enabled the university to retain a treasured landmark.


CLUMEQ is a supercomputing consortium of universities in the province of Quebec, Canada. It includes McGill University, Université Laval, and all nine components of the Université du Québec network. CLUMEQ supports scientific research in disciplines such as climate and ecosystems modeling, high energy particle physics, cosmology, nanomaterials, supramolecular modeling, bioinformatics, biophotonics, fluid dynamics, data mining and intelligent systems.