Company re-enters UK supercomputing market

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Fujitsu is re-entering the high-performance computing (HPC) market in the UK after 10 years, with an ambition to be a leading player in this field. The company believes that the HPC market is changing dramatically and that the time is now right to capitalise on its heritage and breadth of capability, i.e. research, network infrastructure and data centres, to enable a wider set of organisations to benefit from the commercial opportunities realised through high-performance computing.

As the first step, Fujitsu has announced it has won a four-year £15,000,000 project to provide a distributed grid for HPC Wales with the two primary hubs being Cardiff and Pembroke Dock. HPC Wales is an initiative announced in July 2010 which aims enable Wales to be at the forefront of supercomputing. It has the full backing of the Welsh Assembly Government as a vehicle to improve the economic development and use of technology in the region. HPC Wales is expected to bring an additional economic impact of £22.8 million over 10 years; create more than 400 quality jobs, and create a minimum of 10 new businesses.

As part of the project Fujitsu will undertake collaborative research with HPC Wales to advance the use of HPC in priority areas such as the environment, low-carbon energy generation, the life sciences, advanced materials and manufacturing. This collaboration will utilise the skills and expertise of Fujitsu Laboratories globally.

Commenting on Fujitsu's plans for HPC, Roger Gilbert, CEO Fujitsu UK & Ireland, said: ‘Supercomputing is entering a very exciting phase in its development as computers are now being used to perform “thinking” tasks rather than just “managing” tasks across an increasingly broad set of private and public sector applications. Private sector organisations are realising the commercial and competitive advantages that these technologies can bring – whether it be, for example, accelerated product design and development, workflow simulation or pharmaceutical research and development.’

Gilbert continued: ‘Our work with HPC Wales will be one of the most significant enterprise-class grid systems in Europe today and will be Fujitsu's largest HPC project in Europe. What's key for us is that HPC is no longer all about Tflop and Pflop ratings alone, rather it is about what the HPC capability is used to achieve and ultimately what impact it has more directly to society and business. We're confident that our work with HPC Wales will bring significant technology, skills, research, jobs and economic development to the region.’

The HPC Wales project will include 1,400 nodes deployed in a range of academic sites across Wales, including Swansea, Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Bangor, Glamorgan, Swansea Met, Newport, Glyndwr and a range of other sites. The aggregated performance of compute nodes is more than 190 TFlops and the system consists mainly of Fujitsu Primergy cluster servers based on Intel Xeon and InfiniBand interconnect with Linux and Windows operating systems. It will facilitate the use of complex technology by both private and public organisations via a portal, making it easy to use computers to resolve complex problems in terms of engineering, design, creative production and scientific research.