10 April 2017
Six high performance computing centres that will give academics and industry access to powerful computers to support research in engineering and the physical sciences have been officially launched.
The centres are located at universities around the UK including: Cambridge, Edinburgh, Exeter, London (UCL), Loughborough and Oxford.
They are funded by £20m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Its chief executive, Professor Philip Nelson, says: “These centres will enable new discoveries, drive innovation and allow new insights into today’s scientific challenges. They are important because they address an existing gulf in capability between local university systems and the UK National Supercomputing Service, ARCHER.”
The council says the new centres provide a diversity of computing architectures, which are driven by science needs and are not met by the national facilities or universities.
It says this is because the National HPC Service must meet the needs of the whole UK community and so cannot specialise in specific novel architectures or novel requirements.
Among the facilities offered by the new centres are: Isambard, the world’s first large-scale, production, ARM-based supercomputer; petascale data intensive computation and analytics; and JADE (Joint Academic Data science Endeavour).
The latter is said to be the UK’s largest GPU facility. It features compute nodes with eight NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPUs tightly-coupled through the high-speed NVlink interconnect.
Some of the centres will be available free of charge to any EPSRC-supported researcher, and some will also give access to researchers within UK industry.