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ARCHER Supercomputer Targets Research Solutions on Epic Scale

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 3:43pm
University of Edinburgh

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A new generation supercomputer, capable of more than one million billion calculations a second, is to be launched at the University of Edinburgh.
 
The £43 million ARCHER (Academic Research Computing High End Resource) system will provide high performance computing support for research and industry projects in the UK.
 
ARCHER will help researchers carry out sophisticated, complex calculations in diverse areas such as simulating the Earth’s climate, calculating the airflow around aircraft, and designing novel materials. 
 
Its magnitude and design will enable scientists to tackle problems on a scale that was previously thought impossible.
 
The system, at the University’s Advanced Computing Facility at Easter Bush, has up to three and a half times the speed of the HECTOR supercomputer system, which it replaces.
 
ARCHER’s twin rows of sleek black cabinets are supported by the newly installed UK Research Data Facility. 
 
The system brings together the UK’s most powerful computer with one of its largest data centres. This creates a facility to support Big Data applications, which has been identified by the UK Government as one of its Eight Great Technologies. 
 
The building housing the ARCHER system is among the greenest computer centres in the world, with cooling costs of only eight pence for every pound spent on power.
 
ARCHER was supplied by US computing experts Cray and is funded and owned by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The Massively Parallel Processor uses Cray’s XC30 hardware. Intel’s Xeon E5-2600v2 processor series enables ground-breaking performance, scalability, and maximises energy efficiency.
 
“ARCHER is the highest ranked UK supercomputer on the Top 500 list of November 2013. Based on Intel Xeon E5 v2 processors, the system is designed to deliver sustained performance and scalability, providing researchers and scientists with a powerful, reliable and productive tool," says Stephan Gillich, Director Technical Computing EMEA, Intel.
 
Systems support for the machine will be provided by the University’s EPCC and Daresbury Laboratory. Science, user and engineering support will also be provided by EPCC.
 
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