Feeds

Nottingham uni powers up £5m supercomputer

Lots and lots of flops

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Nottingham University officially launches its shiny new £5m high performance computing facility today. The machine has a peak performance of 3.14 Teraflops, according to the LINPACK test, making it the fastest academic machine in the UK.

The university has had other smaller clusters within departments, but this is the first large centrally-managed cluster. At its core is a central 1024 Opteron cluster installed by Sun and Streamline, with 16 satellite clusters around the University campus.

The machine wieghs in at 13 tonnes - the equivalent of about eight family cars - and occupies 650 cubic feet of space. It can perform three million million calculations every second, and has 50 Terabytes of disk space. This, the Nottingham press announcement tells us, is enough space to hold enough music to play continuously, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for the next 5,700 years. Still, it is not quite as portable as an iPod.

"The whole University will be using this facility and not just one particular department. We do not view this as a grid exercise for the sake of Computer Science," said Nottingham University's grid manager, Jason Hogan-O'Neill.

He told us that to date, the heaviest users have been Pharmacy, Physics and Chemistry (in no particular order), but that when the service is fully launched today, more than 20 schools within the University will want access to it, including those in Biology, Medicine and Geography. Academics in each school will be able to access the supercomputer directly through their desktop PCs via a ‘clone’ system, the university says.

Dr Frazer Pearce, an astronomer in the School of Physics, will have a paper published in the next edition of the journal, Nature, based on work on modeling the evolution of the universe he has performed on the cluster during its alpha and beta testing. Pearce is also the HPC project leader, and says that the machine will allow the university to tackle "grand challenge computational projects".

"Modern research relies heavily on computers. World class research often requires a world class high performance computing facility, something to which researchers at the University of Nottingham now have on-demand access," he went on.

Professor John O’Reilly, chief executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will officially open the facility this afternoon. ®

Update:

Thanks to a number of readers who have pointed out that, in fact, the fastest supercomputer used in academia is the HPCX, based at Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire. The machine is jointly managed by Edinburgh University and CCLRC, and can chug throughdata at an impressive 6.19 Teraflops.

Our thanks also to a number of you who, unimpressed with Nottingham's 3.14 teraflop beastie wrote in a long the lines of: "Oooh, 3.14 Teraflops. That'll be the same as 1.44 Playstation 3s, then?"

Related stories

Puny human takes on chess-playing supercomputer
Climate change boffins get £3.5m boost
My 96-processor Linux cluster is smaller than yours

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST
Speculation rife, but Orbital claims it's too early to tell
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM
'What fun!' exlaims NASA boffin who found the LADEE
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.