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The history of the RRZK at a glance

The history of the RRZK in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.


Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Science sends a proposal to the German National Science Foundation (DFG) concerning the procurement of an electronic computer.


Standard Elektrik Lorenz installs an electronic computer ER 56 in the institute for Applied Mathematics. Memory capacity 4000 words, seven decimal digits (35 bit) each. Storing one word took 0.15 msec. Drum storage device with 10.000 35-bit-words. Data processing tasks from throughout the university were accepted.


Foundation of a faculty-independent Computing Center which manages and operates the ER 56 and other data processing devices.


Installation of a system Siemens 4004/55 with 256 KB memory. Transfer of 32 bits from the cpu to the memory took 0.84 micro sec. 49 MB disk capacity.


Installation of a Control Data Cyber 72/76. The Cyber 76 was then the most powerful computer in the world with a memory capacity of 32 Kwords of 60 bits each. For the transfer of a word the computer needs 27.5 nano sec. Interactive terminals with 300 Baud transfer rate. 200 MB disk capacity.

Regional function:

  • delivery of 50% of the compute capacity to the newly founded universities in North Rhine Westfalia
  • 500 Regional computer users
  • 1000 users of the University of Cologne.
  • PDP 11 systems in several institutes of the Faculty of Mathematics and natural Sciences for special tasks

From 1986 on

Installation of public-access computers in pools throughout the university (financial support through the Computer Investment Programme CIP).

From 1988 on

client/server-concept based on UNIX.

From 1990 on

Installation of workstations for researchers throughout the university (financial support by the Workstations for Research Programme, WAP).


The Computing Center manages and operates a vector supercomputer NEC SX-3/11 of NEC/Japan with a memory capacity of 256 MB (2.7 nano sec/cycle time) and 30 GB disk capacity as a compute server, mainly used by regional users.


IBM RS6000-990 and Digital AXP 7000 are used as computer servers, 2 GB memory and 60 GB disk capacity are available on either system.


Installation of a Silicon Graphics Power Challenge SC900 with 16 processors, 8 GB memory and 50 GB disk capacity.


Installation of a SUN Ultra Enterprise 10000 with 40 processors, 20 GB memory and 90 GB disk capacity.

Foundation of ZAIK

  • Grown from a merger of the University`s Regional Computing Center (RRZK) and its Center for Parallel Computing (ZPR), the Zentrum für Angewandte Informatik der Universität zu Köln/ZAIK (Center for Applied Computer Science of the University of Cologne) is a central institution of the University of Cologne.

  • It coordinates service, research and teaching activities in the area of information processing throughout the University.

  • The Campus-Wide Services group ("Universitätsweiter Service") of the ZAIK corresponds to the former RRZK.

  • Close cooperation with all computer science related departments of the university is considered a vital ingredient of ZAIK`s mission.


Upgrade of the SUN Ultra Enterprise 10000 - starfire (336 MHz processors with 4MB cache), peak performance 27 GFLOPs.

Installation of a SUN E4500 - campfire with 12 processors, 5GB memory, 90 GB disk capacity.


Backup-/Archive Server System (TSM / ADSM)

  •  Four IBM 3466 NSM Model C30, each with 144 GB disk cache. 30 TB tape storage capacity.

Installation of a SGI Origin 2000 system with 32 R12000 processors and 16 GB memory in exchange for the SGI Power Challenge.


Internet access with a bandwidth of 155 Mbps without volume limitation.


Installation of a SUN Fire 6800 with 24 processors and 24 GB memory, peak performance 43 GFLOPs.

UKLAN backbone based on Gigabit Ethernet technology.

Start of the "Wireless Lan" regular service (30 access points spread over the campus).


Installation of a SUN Fire 15000 with 72 processors and 144 GB memory, peak performance 130 GFLOPs, and a second SUN Fire 6800.

Upgrade of the TSM/ADSM system, total capacity now is 112 TB.

Access to UKLAN from "outside" the university via VPN (Virtual Private Network).


Upgrade of the UKLAN backbone which is now configured redundantly.

Upgrade of the "Wireless Lan" service.

Installation of Linux SMP servers for several services.


SAN infrastructure, 56 TB of data are available in a virtualized manner.Cluster clio with 258 Opteron processors (129 Sun V20z nodes) with a peak performance of 1.1 TFLOPS and Infiniband interconnect.

SMP system altix1 (SGI Altix 3700 Bx2) with 24 Itanium 2 processors and 48 GB memory, peak performance 144 GFLOPS.

Parts of the UKLAN now based on 10Gigabit Ethernet technology.


Upgrade of Compute cluster clio: main memory is now 772 GB.

High performance parallel file system PanFS (Panasas) with a capacity of 20 TB and a transfer rate of up to 1.3 GByte/s.

Upgrade of the TSM system: new Servers. Capacity now 350 TB.


Virtualization of services.

  • About 40 guests available based on 2 server machines running VMware Infrastructure (VMware-ESX).

Participation in EU projects CoSpaces (Innovative Collaborative Work Environments for Individuals and Teams in Design and Engineering) and Citizen Media (European research project to enable non-professional users to co-create networked applications and experiences with user-generated content)


Hosting and administration of Compute clusters of institutes of the university.

Participation in the C3-Grid (Collaborative Climate Community Data and Processing Grid) project, a community project of the D-Grid Initiative which is funded by BMBF, the german Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

UKLAN backbone based on 10 Gigabit Ethernet technology.


Coordination of and participation in the SuGI (Sustainable Grid Infrastructure) project which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the D-Grid. SuGI aims at the development of methods, concepts and utilities to support the dissemination of grid technologies to small and medium sized computing centers.

Installation of a compute cluster (funded by BMBF) for the usage by the chemistry community.

Modernization of UKLAN and WLAN.


50 years of Scientific Computation at the University of Cologne.

Installation of CHEOPS, a high performance cluster for scientific applications (first phase). 215 compute nodes with 1720 cores are coupled with QDR Infiniband technology.

Start of the MoSGrid (Molecular Simulation Grid) research project which intends to provide a standards compliant, functional and extensible environment for the execution of molecular simulations on remote HPC facilities. Project Management by RRZK.


Official Inauguration of Cheops. Installation of the second Phase. The Cluster with its more than 800 nodes now offers a peak performance of 100 Teraflop/s and is ranked on position 89 in the TOP 500 list of supercomputers (position 2 in NRW after Forschungszentrum Jülich)

Participation in the C3Grid-INAD (Towards an Infrastructure for General Access to Climate Data) project which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. 


Fundamental revision of the RRZK website. The RRZK discontinues the in-house magazine "Kompass" and now reports on its services and offers together with the other IT service providers of the university in the new "IT Supplement" to the Cologne University Newspaper.

A software shop is set up in cooperation with the company asknet.

With the new version of the SoFS storage system, every student and employee of the University of Cologne has online 10 GB of storage space on a powerful server free of charge. The data stored there can be used for working together with others wherever there is access to the Internet.


The employees of the RRZK and the Institute for Computer Science, the service facilities for the users and the pools in various buildings, barracks and containers on the campus are no longer accommodated as representatives. In the new building in Weyertal 121 there are finally enough rooms available for employees, users, service facilities and infrastructure.

A new important service is the implementation and support of software development for various major projects at the university.

The RRZK participates in the following scientific projects, among others:

  •     DARE (Digital Averroes Research Environment).
  •     In the BMBF-funded joint project HD(CP)2.
  •     The NGSgoesHPC project.


After the relocation of the employees to the new building in Weyertal 121, the start of construction of the new server hall marks the next step in the consolidation of the premises of the RRZK.

With Opencast (Matterhorn), a university-wide, automated service for recording, processing and providing courses can be offered. The already equipped lecture halls provide a simple and reliable means of recording (teaching) events and making them available to students in their ILIAS courses after they have been processed. Neither "cameramen" nor additional computers and microphones are necessary. Opencast is particularly suitable for lectures that do not contain predominantly interactive elements. The same technology can also be used to record non-study related events such as conferences and lecture series. This service is not seen by students as a substitute for face-to-face events, but as an additional added value.

The Video2Brain and Lynda video training libraries offer 900 German-language and 2000 English-language video tutorials on a wide variety of computer and software usage topics. Both centrally procured services are available free of charge to members of the University of Cologne and can also be used via apps on mobile devices.


The field of life sciences is increasingly becoming a focal point of the work of the RRZK. A few examples are intended to illustrate this.

In 2014, the staff of the Cluster of Excellence CECAD (Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases) will start their work. As a service provider for IT services and scientific advice, the RRZK is commissioned to supply the CECAD building with IT services. This is complemented by the provision of computers and software for members of the medical faculty. This should enable CECAD staff to provide and further develop advanced solutions based on basic services. To this end, the RRZK will set up additional IT support units for CECAD and form the "CECAD RRZK IT Service Team" (CRI-S).

The RRZK also participates in the following scientific projects:

  •     FaST deals with the temporal and spatial placement of processes in high-performance computers of the future.
  •     In the SMOOSE project, scientists work on the systematic analysis of modulators of oncogenic signal transmission.

The RRZK has also been active in social media since 2014. The Facebook page is aimed primarily at students and provides information about current news, events or IT courses.

The RRZK and the Student Secretariat 2014 will receive the University Prize for the portal for online reservation of dates. The portal is used to reserve appointments for the enrolment of students. Advantages of the system are the simple operation and a traffic light system for the visibility of the still available dates.


After the introduction of a new corporate design at the university, the web design will be redesigned in mid of 2015 as part of the web relaunch. Not only the change of the design, but also the technological advancement are in the spotlight. The use of modern technologies such as HTML5 makes it possible to create a responsive design for the entire university website, i.e. the pages adapt to the output device. In this way, improved support for mobile devices and accessibility is achieved. This is further increased on the RRZK pages by the introduction of explanations of abbreviations and acronyms. A total of several hundred thousand pages will be switched to the new design.


From 2017, the RRZK will have a 3D printer and 3D scanner. Employees and students at the University of Cologne can order objects in 3D format as 3D prints and 3D scans. The high-quality PolyJet technology of the 3D printer works with a liquid material which is cured with an UV lamp. The ordered objects can be taken along within 24 hours.


With the WGGC, the University of Cologne, the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn and the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf are promoting a collaborative competence centre for sequencing at the DFG. The WGGC is one of four approved projects that cover the sequencing needs of DFG-funded research projects.

The sequencing devices are operated at CCG, data storage and processing take place at RRZK. Cooperation in the fields of bioinformatics, genome research and high performance computing will lead to significant synergies.

Within a few months, the RRZK will implement TLS encryption on hundreds of university websites. Through the central integration, automation and use of the free certification authority "Let's Encrypt", confidentiality, data integrity and authenticity can now be achieved for all websites provided by the RRZK. The websites complement existing encrypted web services.

In 2018, the Cologne Competence Center for Research Data Management (C³RDM) will be founded by the three institutions USB, RRZK and Department 7 Research Management. The aim of the C³RDM is to establish services to support and advise researchers in the field of Research Data Management (FDM) in all phases of a research project. These range from the development of a data management plan as part of the application process to support in the search for suitable (technical) repositories, the technical storage options and the publication of the research data. On the part of the RRZK, the focus of the C³RDM is on providing advice on and setting up technical services.


The WLAN certificate expires in March, so that all corresponding devices require a new configuration profile. This can be downloaded for the usual operating systems over the web page of the RRZK. The IT Supplement 2/2018 (PDF, 818 KB) reports in detail about the background.

In order to significantly expand the capacities in High Performance Computing, the University, under the leadership of the RRZK, is submitting an application for the procurement of a successor system to the current high-performance computer CHEOPS and submitting it to the Science Council via the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The application is approved by the experts, and the final decision on the funding will be taken by the GWK on 5 July 2019. This means that the University of Cologne, as the third location in NRW, will receive the status of a Tier 2 computer centre (in accordance with the categorisation of the Gauss Alliance) alongside the RWTH Aachen University and the University of Paderborn.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact the RRZK-Helpdesk