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UK and USA forge new HPC partnership

The UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the US Department of Energy have jointly announced a collaborative agreement between the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s High Performance Computing Innovation Center (HPCIC) in the USA. Areas of collaboration are to include the development and operation of HPC technologies and applications, and associated industrial outreach and partnership efforts, with an aim to improving economic competitiveness in the UK and USA.

At a ceremony at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) high-performance computing centre, Professor John Womersley, chief executive of STFC, and Parney Albright, director at LLNL, signed a memorandum of understanding for technical and business development exchanges between the HPCIC and the STFC’s Hartree Centre, which is dedicated to making HPC more accessible to British industry and academia. Initial joint projects with the Hartree Centre will likely include the development of software tools that will allow industry to utilise Blue Gene/Q’s computing power for industrial and business applications.

Both centres offer an IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer as their primary industrial computing resource. Among the Livermore supercomputing resources available to the HPCIC for collaborative work is ‘Vulcan’, a five petaflops IBM Blue Gene/Q system that is currently ranked eighth in the Top500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers. The Hartree Centre is home to the UK’s most powerful supercomputer, a 1.4 petaflop BG/Q system. The availability of a common architecture will facilitate the joint development of HPC applications and ancillary software.

Speaking at the signing, STFC's Professor John Womersley said: ‘One of our goals at STFC is to bridge the gap between science and industry. The agreement we've signed will help us to exploit the full potential of high-performance computing for the UK – from basic research through R&D to new product design. I am thrilled to be signing this agreement as it takes significant strides towards translating cutting edge R&D into successful commercial opportunities, and will provide UK businesses and industry with the technology they need to be able to compete on a global scale.’

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