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Durham University and DiRAC’s supercomputer will accelerate our understanding of the universe

Durham University’s new COSMA-8 supercomputer — to be used by world-leading cosmologists in the UK to research the origins of the universe — will be accelerated by Nvidia HDR InfiniBand networking.

Hosted by the Institute for Computational Cosmology of Durham University on behalf of the DiRAC HPC facility, COSMA 8 will become the centerpiece of the DiRAC Memory Intensive service. 

It will allow scientists to advance our understanding of astronomy and particle physics using large-scale simulations. Scientific exploration of dark matter, dark energy, black holes and how galaxies and other structures in the Universe have formed will be advanced by the extreme performance of COSMA 8 and InfiniBand, the world’s only fully offloadable, In-Network Computing interconnect.

Alastair Basden, technical manager for the DiRAC Memory Intensive Service at Durham University explains: ‘COSMA 8 is aiming to model the entire universe, over time, from the big bang to today. It will allow humankind to continue advancing our understanding of where we came from and our place in the cosmos, using larger-scale simulations than ever before. The massive scale of these simulations relies on the bandwidth only InfiniBand can deliver to make this research possible. It’s one example of how DiRAC and Durham University continue to advance the field of supercomputing through their ongoing collaboration with Nvidia.’

DiRAC is a distributed computing facility comprising four deployments across the UK, with systems designed to meet various high performance computing needs within the scientific community. It provides a variety of compute resources that match machine architectures to the different algorithm designs and requirements of the research problems they are tackling.

Based on Dell EMC PowerEdge C6525 servers with AMD EPYC processors, the COSMA 8 supercomputer will be accelerated by HDR 200Gb/s InfiniBand networking with In-Network Computing engines, providing the highest level of performance and scalability to accelerate memory-intensive scientific applications. COSMA 8 utilizes a full non-blocking fat tree topology to enable the best performance to each node in the system.

The use of InfiniBand in DiRAC’s COSMA 8 complements other Nvidia collaborations with Durham University, including ongoing research to explore and utilize the benefits and advanced features of Nvidia BlueField® data processing units for a multitude of applications and use cases.

Gilad Shainer, senior vice president of networking at Nvidia states: ‘Nvidia accelerates the most data-intensive workloads in the world and our ongoing collaboration with Durham University and DiRAC continues to push the boundaries of pioneering supercomputing research. Our collaboration on developing the next generation of supercomputing architecture will enhance research capabilities and be the cornerstone of future systems.”

In November, Nvidia announced its next generation of NDR 400G InfiniBand, which will give scientific researchers the fastest networking performance available to take on the world’s most challenging problems.



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