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University of Southampton launches Iridis 3

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The University of Southampton has launched its new supercomputing facility, Iridis 3, which marks a 20-fold increase in computational power available to researchers over Iridis 2. Custom-designed and built by UK high-performance computer and storage integrator, OCF, using IBM’s iDataPlex server technology, the supercomputer is made up of more than 8,000 processors.

Dr Oz Parchment, IT infrastructure services manager at the University of Southampton and responsible for Iridis 3, commented that, in terms of UK academia, the facility is the largest HPC installation of its kind. It ranked 74th in the most recent Top500 list and was also 25th in the Green500 list, a list of the most energy-efficient supercomputers in the world.

Researchers at the University from a variety of backgrounds, including physics, chemistry and engineering, among many others, are making use of the increased computational power. Dr Graeme Earl is running archaeological simulations to model the interior of ancient buildings using 3D geophysics data, as well as producing accurate representations of archaeological artefacts. Elsewhere, researchers simulating aeroengine jet noise can generate their models in 50 hours on Iridis 3 (using 128 cores). The same simulation would take 9 months on a standard desktop computer with one core.