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Hartree Centre to take delivery of a new supercomputer

Digital services company Atos UK&I has announced a collaboration with the the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Hartree Centre which includes the purchase of the first Bull sequana X1000 supercomputer system in the UK and one of the most powerful in the world.

The collaboration not only focuses on the new supercomputer but also aims to provide activities designed to address the government’s industrial strategy which encourages closer collaboration between academia and industry.

Alison Kennedy, director of the Hartree Centre, said: ‘The Hartree Centre works at the leading edge of emerging technologies and provides substantial benefits to the many industrial and research organisations that come to us. Our collaboration with Atos will ensure that we continue to enable businesses, large and small, to make the best use of supercomputing and big data to develop better products and services that will boost productivity and drive growth.’

This will include the launch of a new, UK-based HPC as a service (HPCaaS) which aims to provide access to HPC services for both large and small companies through easily accessible cloud portals.

In addition to traditional HPC computing, the new service will also provide ‘deep learning as a service' (DLaaS), an emerging cognitive computing technique with broad applicability from automated voice recognition to medical imaging.

The collaboration aims to encourage the use of HPC by small and medium sized businesses – encouraging high-tech innovation among the SME community in the UK.

Bull claims that sequana’s packaging and cooling technology has been designed to accommodate future generations of processor, interconnect and accelerator technology which will allow further upgrades in the future if the Hartree Centre would like to upgrade the system further - taking advantage of more compute-intensive or energy efficient hardware as it becomes available.

The supercomputer will be approximately 3.4 PFlops when installed, and is composed of Intel Xeon and many-core Xeon Phi processor technology. It has been designed to accommodate future blade systems for deep learning, GPU and ARM-based computing. The new supercomputer will allow both academic and industry organisations to try out the latest technology and develop applications using the latest advances in artificial intelligence and high-performance data analytics.

Andy Grant, head of big data and HPC, Atos UK&I said: ‘We believe that our Bull supercomputing technology, people, and collaborative approach will reinforce the Hartree Centre’s reputation as a world-class HPC centre of excellence and as the flagship model for industry-academic collaboration.

‘Atos’ HPC innovation also delivers environmental benefits as the use of direct liquid cooling technology means Bull sequana is amongst the most energy-efficient, general-purpose supercomputer ever built.’

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