Feeds

Nottingham uni powers up £5m supercomputer

Lots and lots of flops

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.