New £53 million high performance computing service to be located at the CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory
One of the world's most advanced high performance computing centres is to be built at the CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire. Costing £53 million over 6 years, funded by three UK research councils and operated by the CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory and Edinburgh University, it will be used by the UK science and engineering research communities to solve previously inaccessible problems.
The next generation UK high performance computing service, to be known as the HPCx service, will be based on IBM POWER 4 technology and will provide an initial capability of 6.7 Teraflops/s (6.7 million million operations per second). This performance will be upgraded to more than 11 Teraflops/s in 2004 and to 22 Teraflops/s in 2006. It will be the most powerful high performance computer for academic researchers in use in Europe.
The computing capacity provided by the HPCx service, which is planned to start in December 2002, will be used to address important and difficult problems in a wide range of sciences from the very small, such as the nature of matter, through to simulations of whole systems from cells and organs to global simulations of the Earth. It will also enable new advances to be made in the human genome project, help engineers to design new and safer structures and aircraft and assist in opening up completely new fields of research, such as biomolecular electronics.
CCLRC's Director of Computational Science and Engineering, Paul Durham, said,
"The HPCx service will be a massive step forward for the UK. It will provide a benefit for the nation's researchers that matches our needs, now and in future years. Those benefits will be felt most keenly as we begin to address problems of the highest quality and difficulty that only a service of this immense capacity and sophistication can tackle."
CCLRC's Chief Executive, John Wood, added, "CCLRC welcomes the prospect of working in partnership with Edinburgh University and IBM UK Ltd. Together we will deliver a high capability, high quality, computing service. This will help UK research groups break new ground as they address important, but previously intractable, problems."
Notes for editors
- The new High Performance Computing service is funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (£48M), the Natural Environment Research Council (£5M), and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (which will contribute on a 'pay as you go' basis) for use by the whole UK research community.
- Some examples of the research the service will enable include:
- Drug design: tomorrow's drugs will be highly specific and finely targeted using terascale technology. How individual molecules interact with proteins is already known but HPC will enable more molecules to be screened more quickly so more potential chemical compounds can be tested for their potential in treating disease.
- Flight simulation: at present only the airflow around the wing of an aircraft can be simulated, but HPC can, potentially, enable the analysis of the entire flow around an aircraft. By looking at how turbulent the air is behind an aeroplane on take-off could mean greater use of air space and ease the control of traffic in the air.
- Structure of the Earth: the Earth's core has a major impact on our lives, for example it shapes the magnetic field which acts as a protection from the harmful effects of charged particles from the Sun. HPC techniques can be used to investigate the structure and behaviour of the core in a way that is impossible by direct observation and experiment.
- A terascale computer like HPCx is immensely powerful. For example, it is capable of solving all the maths problems given to every UK secondary school pupil this year in less than a fifth of a second.
- The Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC) comprises the Daresbury and Rutherford Appleton Laboratories and the Chilbolton Observatory. CCLRC is a world-leading scientific research organisation bringing together scientists both from the UK and worldwide to participate in research in a multidisciplinary environment, by providing access to leading edge, large-scale facilities and an extensive pool of scientific and technological expertise, skills and innovation. It also co-ordinates UK research programmes in space and particle physics. The science and engineering programmes of the CCLRC are a vital part of the UK science and engineering base. CCLRC also acts as the national focus for large-scale facilities for neutron scattering, synchrotron radiation and high power lasers. It co-ordinates the development of policies and strategies to provide access for UK scientists to leading edge large-scale facilities in these scientific areas, both nationally and internationally.
For more information please contact: Tony Buckley
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