UK Science extends to new fields of research with IBM supercomputer
UK National Academic Supercomputer doubles its capability again
Warrington, UK, 7th November, 2006. Today the third and final phase of HPCx, the UK National Academic Supercomputer, was formally accepted into service by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
When originally commissioned by the UK Research Councils in 2002 it
was immediately designated as one of the top 10 largest supercomputers
in the world. In 2004, the capability of HPCx to run scientific
applications was doubled, and it has now been doubled again, to in
excess of 2500 processors.
HPCx is a tightly coupled high-performance computing system comprising
IBM (NYSE:IBM) System p575 high-end compute servers, and is used by
leading research groups in the UK to study a wide range of
Computational Science and Engineering challenges.
Professor John O'Reilly, Chief Executive Officer for EPSRC, says that
'The International Review of Research Using High Performance Computing
in the UK, published in December 2005, stated that the UK has a well
thought-out investment strategy for HPC platforms. HPCx is one element
of this strategy and can be justifiably proud of the excellent service
it has provided to the academic community. The combination of
world-class technology, facilities management and computational
science and engineering support has enabled impressive advances by UK
research groups. The doubling of its capability, using IBM technology
which is more advanced than anticipated when the contract for the
service was agreed in 2002, will help to enhance the UK's ability to
carry out research dependent upon HPC.'
Professor Arthur Trew, Director of EPCC at the University of
Edinburgh, says "We believe that the right way to use large machines
like HPCx is for ground-breaking calculations and simulations that
can't be effectively done on less capable systems. However, for this
to work effectively we require the computer to be powerful, scaleable
and reliable. Over the past four years, the IBM systems have proved to
be all three and we are looking forward to the new opportunities
enabled by the latest upgrade."
Professor Paul Durham, Director of the Computational Science and
Engineering Department at the CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory says, "HPCx
has been a partnership all down the line - between Edinburgh,
Daresbury, IBM, EPSRC and the UK research community. Our joint vision
for high end computational research has always been to couple the
operation of the systems closely with the expertise needed to write,
develop, tune and support the codes that scientists actually run, and
to do this in collaboration with the scientists themselves.
HPCx has allowed UK researchers to examine scientific problems in ways
previously unavailable. Specific examples of results that have been
- New Gels. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have invented a new generic route to gel formulation. These gels have the capability for their properties to be highly tuned, allowing them to be selected for different applications such as personal care, foodstuffs, drilling muds, and pharmaceuticals. This world-leading research has been published in the high impact-rating journal Science (309, 2198, 2005).
- Transport in Biological Cells. Scientists from University College London have developed an understanding of the transport of biomolecules like DNA, RNA and poly-peptides across protein membrane channels in biological cells. The transport of these systems is of major significance in the research of cell function. This award winning research won the HPC Analytics Challenge Award at Super Computing 2005 and the ISC Life Sciences Award at the International Supercomputer Conference 2006.
- Helicopter Rotor Wake Simulations. Researchers at the University of Bristol have modelled the aerodynamics of helicopter rotor blades in exceptional detail on HPCx. These highly accurate rotor wake simulations are essential for both the design of civil helicopters, in particular to reduce noise pollution, and for the military, in order to avoid aircraft detection. This work has been published in the International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering. (68, 632, 2006).
- Coastal Ocean Modelling. The Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory have tackled coastal ocean modelling at an unprecedented detail, running one of the largest ever models of the North Western European Continental Shelf. The model now has sufficient resolution to represent many of the small scale processes identified as playing a significant role in shelf seas, such as eddies and internal waves, but on a shelf-wide scale.
For more information about IBM, visit http://www.ibm.com/servers/deepcomputing/.
Located at the Daresbury Laboratory in Warrington
HPCx is managed by a consortium led by the University of Edinburgh,
and including the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research
Councils and IBM.
For more information about HPCx, visit http://www.hpcx.ac.uk/
For more information about The University of Edinburgh and EPCC (the
lead partner within the University consortium) visit:
http://www.ed.ac.uk/ and http://www.epcc.ed.ac.uk/
For more information about Daresbury Laboratory and CCLRC, visit: http://www.cclrc.ac.uk/
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the
UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical
sciences. The EPSRC is investing £650 million this year in research
and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next
generation of technological change. This research forms the basis for
future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's
health, lifestyle and culture. The Research Councils work collectively
on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK. For more
information on EPSRC, visit http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/
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