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University of Edinburgh doubles compute power

The University of Edinburgh has unveiled a new HPC system that doubles the compute power available to researchers, requires less cooling than its predecessors and uses less energy.

Multi-disciplinary researchers from across the University of Edinburgh – working in areas including bioinformatics, speech processing, particle physics, material physics, chemistry, cosmology, medical imaging and psychiatry – will now benefit from a significant

Lancaster University selects HPC solution

Lancaster University is using Platform HPC Enterprise Edition, with the help of Viglen, to support its enterprise-class HPC set-up. Lancaster University has been an HPC user for several years, but decided to adopt a more strategic and centralised approach when it began looking at refreshing and upgrading its resources in 2009. The new HPC resources will allow Lancaster University to maintain an enviable record in cutting-edge computer- based research. This ranges from fundamental physics and quantum transport in carbon nanotubes, to deeply human studies such as bioinformatics, financial market modelling and the analysis of labour markets, with a rich spectrum of results in between.

Through a four-year

framework agreement as sole supplier of high-end computer systems with Viglen, Lancaster University will have a close relationship with both Platform Computing and Viglen, benefiting from world-class HPC management software and hardware designed for high-end computing facilities.

upgrade to the University’s shared HPC system, known as ‘Eddie’. The new HPC system allows researchers to run more complex computer simulations and scenarios, and obtain research results more quickly. A second planned upgrade for 2011 is expected to result in at least five times the current compute power of Eddie being available to researchers. Despite immediately doubling the compute power available, the HPC system will generate

less heat than its predecessor and have minimal energy consumption. There are several reasons for the reduction in heat emissions. Firstly, there are efficiency improvements contained in Intel’s Westmere platform. Second, heat emissions are reduced by the HPC system’s use of IBM System x iDataPlex servers, which are custom engineered for excellent energy efficiency. In addition, the University’s system is fitted with iDataplex

water-cooling features to remove 100 per cent of heat generated by the system close to the source, which when combined with the use of Scottish air to cool the water, provides almost free cooling for much of the year. Design, build, configuration, implementation and support of the HPC system now and, again in 2011, will be undertaken by HPC system integrator, high performance storage integrator and cloud service provider, OCF.

Atomic Weapons Establishment orders two large scale supercomputer systems

The UK’s Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) has ordered two large scale capacity supercomputer systems from Bull, with a combined peak performance in excess of 75 teraflops. The systems chosen are the latest bullx supercomputers launched by Bull last year. Dr Graeme Nicholson, AWE’s

director of its science and technology programme, said:

‘This investment will enable us to make advances on a range of scientific fronts – including weapon physics, materials science and engineering – which will underpin our continued ability to underwrite the safety and effectiveness of the Trident warhead in the Comprehensive Test Ban era.’ Ken Atkinson, AWE’s HPC strategy manager, added: ‘Each

of the two bullx supercomputer systems has about the same performance as our current capability system. Use of these new systems will provide us with a high performance, high-throughput, capacity- biased production facility, which will enable our demanding numerical modelling to be undertaken within acceptable elapsed times.’

Visualisation solution aids biomedical research at Cornell

Weill Cornell Medical College in New York is using Christie’s 3D High Definition Cave to achieve breakthrough findings in biomedical research. The David A Cofrin Center for Biomedical Information at the HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Institute for Computational Biomedicine is powered by eight Christie Mirage 3-chip DLP projectors with active stereo capability. The Christie projectors deliver a resolution of 1,920 x 1,920 (3.68 megapixels) per wall – 334 per cent higher resolution than most previous Caves. The results

are superior 3D images that set new standards in molecular modelling and other avenues of biomedical research. ‘The ICB’s CAVE facility is a powerful new tool that is helping us attract the best and brightest minds in the world,’ said Dr Harel Weinstein. ‘We are able to explore images at the molecular and cellular level with a clarity and precision that was previously unattainable. Images of tissues and biological objects can be twisted, turned and expanded, viewed layer by layer with the flick of the wrist, allowing for an unmatched level of inspection that engulfs researchers in

colours and details.’ Vanessa Borcherding, systems administrator for the Institute for Computational Biomedicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, added: ‘The ICB is focused on enabling computational methodologies in the biological sciences, including genome studies, molecular modelling and modelling of cell and organ systems. The Cofrin Center’s Facility allows us to take many pieces of data from a computer and reconstruct it in an immersive 3D environment to help researchers make decisions and gain insights quickly and intuitively.’


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