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Imperial College London enhances HPC service

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Imperial College London is using a massively parallel processing (MPP) solution from SGI to enhance the central HPC service at the university.

Consistently rated among the world's best universities, Imperial is a science-based institution with a global reputation for its high quality teaching and academic research. The university required an advanced computing solution that its students and researchers could rely on to conduct course work and research that depends on extremely complex process modelling. To meet this need, the college selected the SGI dual rail Infiniband supercomputer, which uses the latest Intel Xeon Nehalem processors.

The SGI installation will act as Imperial’s high-end HPC system, providing a central service to handle all study and research applications common to HPC academia, such as computational fluid dynamics and weather and ocean modelling. The new system also acts as a stepping stone to the national academic supercomputer service - HECToR (High End Computing Terascale Resources).

'Due to the complex nature of the applications involved, speed, performance and low latency are critical factors for our HPC users,' said Simon Burbidge, HPC co-ordination manager at Imperial College London. 'The new SGI installation has proven to perform very well across these attributes and will enable researchers at the university to tackle larger and more difficult problems than ever before.'

SGI Altix ICE supercomputers are designed-to-order for data-intensive computing. Featuring an integrated blade architecture, Altix ICE supports extremely high densities – up to 512 processor cores in a single rack – and is easily scalable to thousands of nodes, making it an ideal solution for the most challenging computing problems. In addition, the Altix ICE blade architecture offers unique technologies like diskless nodes and integrated backplanes, which not only enhance reliability, but reduce operating costs by reducing power expended for cooling.

SGI will provide dedicated in-house application expertise to Imperial College London as part of the technology partnership between SGI and the university to help port and optimise key codes onto the new SGI architecture.