The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has just launched six new High Performance Computational (HPC) Centres, worth a combined £20 million, at the Thinktank Science museum in Birmingham. These new Tier2 regional centres are aimed at supporting both academics and industry providing access to a diverse range of powerful supercomputers for scientific research and engineering.
These Tier2 systems will sit between the National Tier1 (e.g. ARCHER) and local campus Tier3 systems (e.g. Balena), addressing the gap in capability between these two levels. This new layer of Tier2 HPC will enable new discoveries and drive innovation, it will be open to any UK ESPRC researcher and provide easy local access, and be integrated with the HPC ecosystem across the UK, both vertically into Tier1 and Tier3 systems and horizontally to other Tier2 centres. The Tier2 Centres will provide access to new and advanced technologies such as Intel’s Knights Landing (KNL) Xeon Phi, NVIDIAs Pascal, POWER8, 64-bit ARM and data burst buffers. To complement this minefield of diverse technologies, all six Centres will provide support though Research Software Engineers (RSEs) to assist with the training and skills development, porting and optimisation of applications and codes.
Great Western 4 (GW4) HPC Centre for Advanced Architectures: Isambard
Isambard, after Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, will be the first of its kind 64-bit ARM-based supercomputer providing multiple advanced architectures within the same system to enable evaluation and comparison across a diverse range of hardware platforms in a production environment. This is a joint project between the GW4 Alliance (universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter) together with Cray Inc. and the Met Office. The service will provide over 10,000 high performance ARMv8 cores, as well as NVIDIA P100 and Intel Xeon Phi (KNL) accelerators cards.
A National Facility for Peta-scale Data Intensive Computation and Analytics: Peta-5
Peta-5, a multi-disciplinary facility providing large-scale data simulation and high performance data analytics designed to enable advances in material science, computational chemistry, computational engineering and health informatics. This project, led by University of Cambridge, will provide peta-flop performance across Intel’s KNL, GPU, x86 computational architectures and peta-scale storage on spinning disk and tape storage.
Hub in Materials and Molecule Modelling: Thomas
Thomas, after the polymath Thomas Young, a Materials and Molecular Modelling (MMM) Hub will have applications in energy, healthcare and the environment. The project is led by UCL, with partners in the Materials Chemistry Consortium (MCC) and UKCP, and will provide a large x86-64 based system.
Joint Academic Data science Endeavour: JADE
JADE, led by the University of Oxford, will provide the largest GPU-based system in the UK. Working with NVIDIA, will provide around 3.7 Petaflops of performance using NVIDIA’s latest DGX-1 platform, which makes use of the new NVlink technology. This centre will be optimised for Deep Learning which will greatly benefit research applications involved in machine learning, image/video/audio analysis and molecular dynamics.
HPC Midlands Plus
HPC Midlands Plus will primarily focus on data-intensive applications in fields ranging from engineering, manufacturing, healthcare and energy. Led by Loughborough University, the Centre will provide a large x86 based system, to accompany this will be a modest sized component of POWER8 systems each with 1TB memory.
Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC): Cirrus
Cirrus, will be hosted by the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC). It will offer over 10,000 x86 cores to both science and industry. This will nicely complement EPSRC’s National HPC service, ARCHER. As part of this project, EPCC will host a mini-RDF (Research Data Facility) to provide common object-based data store to the Tier2 ecosystem and other supercomputers.
Recent press releases about the launch: