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Hawking launches COSMOS supercomputer

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The most powerful shared-memory supercomputer in Europe has been officially launched by Professor Stephen Hawking. Expected to advance our understanding of the origin and structure of our universe, the COSMOS supercomputer is part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council DiRAC high-performance computing facility, a national service for UK cosmologists, astronomers and particle physicists, as well as non-academic users.

During the launch, which is part of the Numerical Cosmology 2012 workshop at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge, Professor Hawking said: ‘We have made spectacular advances in cosmology and particle physics recently. Cosmology is now a precision science, so we need machines like COSMOS to reach out and touch the real universe, to investigate whether our mathematical models are correct.’

Dr Jeremy Yates, the project director for DiRAC, added: ‘The COSMOS supercomputer is an essential and vital part of the DiRAC Facility. DiRAC now offers five leading systems to UK researchers, two of which are in Cambridge. It allows the UK cosmology and extra-solar planet research communities to take a leading role in understanding how structure was formed in the very early Universe and the composition of the atmospheres of extra-solar planets. These activities will deepen our understanding of the origins of the cosmos and life, and make a vital contribution to the knowledge economy.’

Manufactured by SGI, the COSMOS supercomputer is the first system of its kind.