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University of Strathclyde installs new supercomputer

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The University of Strathclyde has recently switched on its new £500,000 single-installation supercomputer. The new HPC facility was provided by Esteem Systems, and it will dramatically increase the computational capabilities of Strathclyde's Faculty of Engineering and Institute for Complex Systems to tackle challenging problems such as molecular simulations of hydrogen storage in nanoporous materials.

After a competitive procurement process, Esteem won the bid to design and deliver the supercomputer to Strathclyde. Based on Sun Microsystems technology, the HPC facility will enable the University to perform science and engineering modelling to a level of detail that cannot be accessed by physical experiments. The new supercomputer is nearly ten times more powerful that the Engineering Faculty’s current HPC system, which means the number of users and their computational capabilities will be able to significantly increase over the next few years.

With 1,088 cores writing to a 100TB high performance disk storage area across a state-of-the art Quad Data Rate Infiniband network, Esteem has designed this high performance computer for a peak performance of almost 13 TeraFlops, making it one of the most powerful computers housed in any Scottish university. 140 Sun servers were built onsite at Esteem’s head office and testing facility to ensure that the system was ready to go when it arrived at Strathclyde. The high performance disk storage area uses Sun’s file system, Lustre, which simplifies mass storage. Lustre is a parallel file system that acts like a highway, instead of a single-track road, to enable university researchers, academic staff and PhD students to access large files simultaneously without disrupting performance.