centres that need access to specialised clusters to support domain specialists who need access to HPC. This is seen in areas such as biomedical research, engineering chemistry, Cosmology, weather and climate simulation and other areas of research that are heavily focused on simulation or large scale data analysis. For example Biomedical research centres

may need access to very large storage resources to support large data sets that they are dealing with. Engineers may need access to specialised hardware that can support large scale simulations in order to generate insight into ongoing projects. Altrantibgely HPC can also speed up the time to get new components and systems to market.

OCF supports engineering research In a recent blog post, Andrew Dean, sales director at OCF states: ‘The need for agility is never more apparent than in manufacturing, where we are creating products today more complex than ever.’ ‘Especially when taking advantage of the

latest manufacturing techniques such as additive and subtractive manufacturing, added Dean. ‘Traditional design and manufacture methodologies, as well as the once leisurely timeframes, are simply not the way to stay ahead of the competition today.’ ‘Computer-based simulation has

been well-established for decades, but we are continuing to see more smaller organisations and engineering teams realising its potential for the first time,’ states Dean. ‘Being able to take advantage of simulating tests that would be impractical or uneconomical to carry out on physical prototypes.

When designing and validating a product using digital twins or simulation models, engineers can quickly modify designs and create alterations and new iterations of components quickly. This can accelerate time to market or help an organisation innovate on designs before a new product is brought to market. The benefits mean that engineering simulation makes sense from a financial point of view for a wider range of end-users across various industrial sectors and organisation sizes.

and even fully managed HPC services can be delivered by HPC integrators in order to reduce the burden to support technical IT departments and scientists’ use of HPC. Maintenance for example can help

reduce the downtime of HPC systems and help to predict the failure of systems or components. Increasing the time that a computing service is available also increases the amount of scientific output that a HPC system can generate. Integrators can also support research | @scwmagazine

‘Whilst the benefits of engineering simulation are clear, in many organisations when the use of engineering simulation becomes an established part of the product development process, innovation can quickly become reduced by IT equipment, often relying on single user workstations, that are being used to process these simulations. Users can be limited in the number of simulations they can run or simulations simply taking too long to complete. This is

“Computer-based simulation has been well-established for decades, but we are continuing to see smaller organisations and engineering teams realising its potential for the first time”

an area where HPC can provide a platform to support engineering research and development. ‘In simple terms a HPC cluster combines a number of identical servers, a fast network, and some management tools to give a single pool of compute resources that can be shared across a number of users,’ states Dean. ‘Simulations can be submitted to a scheduler and run across multiple servers simultaneously, returning results quicker than could ever be possible on a single workstation.’ ‘By centralising resources amongst a number of users, and using the scheduler to queue up jobs, the HPC cluster can be kept busy, so in addition to being able to deliver results quicker, can also offer much higher utilisation, and therefore simulation throughput, than an equivalent amount of compute capability spread across multiple users,’ Dean continued. With the additional benefit that users’ workstations are freed up and they can concentrate on other engineering work, rather than waiting around for jobs to finish. There is a perception that the added

complexity of HPC can make these systems hard to manage or even potentially beyond the reach of organisations that may currently be using high spec workstations for engineering simulation. However, integrators can assist in the management, maintenance and service quality of HPC system which vastly reduces the burden on the organisation. This allows a research centre for academic institutions the freedom to support its scientists’ use of computational resources without requiring a large investment in large numbers of staff to support the more technical aspects of running a HPC service. ‘Whilst I won’t deny there is some inherent

complexity this can be mitigated against - the key here is to work with the right partners and with the right technologies – there are software products out there that make adopting these technologies much easier and specialist integrators, like OCF, that take the pain out of designing, installing and managing these systems,’ states Dean.

Summer 2021 Scientific Computing World 5

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