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Innovation

                       Meet Quriosity

When it comes to expediting digitalization at BASF, research and development play a key role. For example, to calculate the most promising polymer structure from thousands of possibilities, you need a high-performance computer with above-average computing power – just a supercomputer like our Quriosity.

With a computing power of 1.75 petaflops (1 petaflops equals one quadrillion floating point operations per second), the new computer, called Quriosity following an online naming contest among employees, offers around 10 times the overall computing power previously available to BASF researchers. It took roughly one year from initial internal planning meetings to start-up.

1.75 quadrillion

The number of floating point operations that the Quriosity supercomputer can perform each second, is equivalent to the computing power of around
50,000 laptops.

Live interview

In 2018, BASF supercomputing experts answered questions on Quriosity in a live interview.

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Digital technologies are indispensable for everyday R&D operations. 

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Installing the supercomputer in Ludwigshafen involved reinforcing the floor in the server room, laying more than 1,000 network cables with a total length of 15 km as well as adding a separate water-cooling system, which can cool the supercomputer with 60,000 liters of water per hour. At full capacity, the supercomputer has an electricity consumption of roughly 600 kilowatts, generating significant waste heat in the process.

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With Quriosity, much more complex models are possible, in which significantly more parameters can be varied. This could not only result in substantially reduced development times, but also previously unknown relationships can be recognized and used to advance completely new research approaches.

Find out more about the topics Quriosity is working on:

Ortosole ist ein landwirtschaftlicher Gemüsebetrieb im Norden Roms, ein Vorzeigebeispiel, wie moderne und nachhaltige Anbaumethoden gut miteinander zu kombinieren sind. Seit vier Generationen leiten die Tiozzos ihren Familienbetrieb.

Ortosole ist Teil des Farm Network, einer von BASF initiierten Partnerschaft. Mit Agrar- und Naturschutzexperten tauschen die Familienmitglieder Wissen aus, verbessern Anbaumethoden und testen neue Ideen. 

Alessandro (links) und Eugenio Tiozzo (rechts) kontrollieren die Bewässerung der Pflanzen. Dies ist für eine gute Versorgung der Kulturen von großer Bedeutung.

Ortosole ist ein landwirtschaftlicher Gemüsebetrieb im Norden Roms, ein Vorzeigebeispiel, wie moderne und nachhaltige Anbaumethoden gut miteinander zu kombinieren sind. Seit vier Generationen leiten die Tiozzos ihren Familienbetrieb.

Ortosole ist Teil des Farm Network, einer von BASF initiierten Partnerschaft. Mit Agrar- und Naturschutzexperten tauschen die Familienmitglieder Wissen aus, verbessern Anbaumethoden und testen neue Ideen. 

Alessandro (links) und Eugenio Tiozzo (rechts) kontrollieren die Bewässerung der Pflanzen. Dies ist für eine gute Versorgung der Kulturen von großer Bedeutung.

Ortosole ist ein landwirtschaftlicher Gemüsebetrieb im Norden Roms, ein Vorzeigebeispiel, wie moderne und nachhaltige Anbaumethoden gut miteinander zu kombinieren sind. Seit vier Generationen leiten die Tiozzos ihren Familienbetrieb.

Ortosole ist Teil des Farm Network, einer von BASF initiierten Partnerschaft. Mit Agrar- und Naturschutzexperten tauschen die Familienmitglieder Wissen aus, verbessern Anbaumethoden und testen neue Ideen. 

Alessandro (links) und Eugenio Tiozzo (rechts) kontrollieren die Bewässerung der Pflanzen. Dies ist für eine gute Versorgung der Kulturen von großer Bedeutung.

How likely a substance is to enter the groundwater depends on its physical and chemical properties. Also, local conditions, such as the climate and soil characteristics, play an important role. The interactions of crop protection products with soil and their possible transport into groundwater are precisely defined by mathematical equations. Quriosity is capable of calculating these complex environmental situations needed to register crop protection products for > 400,000 scenarios in just a few hours instead of years. The models include the behavior and retention of the products as well as potential decomposition products in the environment – a prerequisite for approval on the European market and for the products’ sustainable use. Further information regarding BASF’s innovative solutions for farming, pest control and landscape management can be found here

One application example of our new supercomputer are molecular simulations for detergent formulations. Using Quriosity’s enormous computing power, we are able to explain with these simulations at molecular level how BASF’s existing and potential new detergent ingredients work. This results in a better understanding of products, formulations and processes, and thus enables greater innovation to be achieved in a shorter period of time. Further information regarding BASF’s innovative solutions for Home Care and Industrial & Institutional cleaning can be found here

The video shows the molecular simulation of a detergent formulation. All detergent ingredients (soap = white blobs, surfactants = greenish blobs, polymers = little sticks) are simulated as well as dirt (red) and the cotton surface (white, at the bottom). At the end of the simulation with about 26 million atoms, there is almost no dirt on the cotton surface. The polymers stabilize the dirt together with the surfactants and inhibit the re-deposition of dirt on the cotton surface.

MachineLearning.png

The performance of molecules is determined by their properties. With the help of Quriosity, we create a huge database with computed molecular properties. These properties can be linked to the performance of BASF products by use of machine learning. Using this approach, our database enables us to find promising molecules for innovative BASF products.

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Surfactants are key ingredients in many products for daily use such as dishwashing detergents or skin creams. Even at very low concentration, surfactants can form structures that influence the performance of a product such as the foaming of dishwashing detergents or how easy a cream can be applied to the skin. Using Quriosity we can now study surfactant systems to a high degree of accuracy. With these simulations we support the research and development teams to develop new formulations for home care, industrial & institutional cleaning and personal care products.

A new chapter in BASF's innovation history

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Using digital technologies and data, we are creating additional value for our customers and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of our processes.

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