Six high performance computing (HPC) centers will be formally launched in the UK this week with £20 million ($25m) in funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), a government body.

The centers will be located in the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Exeter, Oxford, Loughborough University, and University College London.

Supercomputers for research 

Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Isambard Kingdom Brunel

“These centers will enable new discoveries, drive innovation and allow new insights into today’s scientific challenges,” Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s chief executive, said.

“They are important because they address an existing gulf in capability between local university systems and the UK National Supercomputing Service ARCHER. Many universities are involved in the six new centers, and these will give more researchers easy access to High Performance Computing.” 

The six facilities are as follows:

GW4 Tier-2 HPC Centre for Advanced Architectures

Named after Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the center will use 10,000 high-performance ARM cores ‘to provide access to a wide range of the most promising emerging architectures.’

  • Led by: Professor Simon McIntosh-Smith, University of Bristol
  • EPSRC grant: £3m ($3.8m)
  • Partners: Universities of Bristol, Bath, Cardiff and Exeter, Cray, Met Office

Peta-5: A National Facility for Petascale Data Intensive Computation and Analytics

The center will provide large-scale data simulation and high performance data analytics in the fields of material science, computational chemistry, computational engineering and health informatics.

  • Led by: Professor Paul Alexander, University of Cambridge
  • EPSRC grant: £5m ($6.3m)
  • Partners: Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Southampton, Leicester and Bristol, UCL, Imperial College London, DiRAC, King’s College London, The Alan Turing Institute

Tier-2 Hub in Materials and Molecular Modelling

Named Thomas after polymath Thomas Young, it will be available to members of the Materials and Molecular Modelling (MMM) Hub as well as the wider MMM and Tier-2 communities.

  • Led by: Professor Angelos Michaelides, UCL
  • EPSRC grant: £4m ($5m)
  • Partners: UCL, Imperial College London, King’s College London, Queen Mary University of London, Queen’s University of Belfast, Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Kent and Southampton, OCF

JADE: Joint Academic Data science Endeavour

Apparently the largest GPU facility in the UK, JADE features compute nodes with eight Nvidia Tesla P100 GPUs coupled through the NVlink interconnect. JADE’s focus is machine learning and related data science areas, and molecular dynamics.

  • Led by: Professor Mike Giles, University of Oxford
  • EPSRC grant: £3m ($3.8m)
  • Partners: Universities of Oxford, Edinburgh, Southampton, Sheffield and Bristol, Queen Mary University of London, UCL and King’s College London, Nvidia

HPC Midlands Plus

Based at Loughborough University’s Science and Enterprise Park, it will be used to create complex simulations and process vast quantities in fields such as engineering, manufacturing, healthcare and energy.

  • Led by: Professor Steven Kenny, Loughborough University
  • EPSRC grant: £3.2m ($4m)
  • Partners: Loughborough University, Aston University, Universities of Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham and Warwick, Queen Mary University of London

EPCC Tier-2 HPC Service

The Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC) is making its HPC system Cirrus five times larger. A data storage facility is being added to allow researchers to store and share data between different supercomputers.

  • Led by: Professor Mark Parsons, University of Edinburgh
  • EPSRC grant: £2,400,000
  • Partners: Universities of Edinburgh, Bristol, Leeds and Strathclyde, UCL