HIGH PERFORMANCE COMPUTING ‘If manufacturers make HPC tightly

integrated with their engineering simulation applications, it can be possible to make HPC just another tool for engineers,’ Dean continued. ‘Selecting HPC systems can be as straightforward as choosing a printer making it easier to benefit from the capabilities HPC systems give you: high utilisation and scale. By moving away from engineering simulation being performed on discrete workstations by engineers working in isolation, a HPC system can bring these single sources together, into one big, centralised pool. Which results in each individual engineer having access to a much bigger resource,’ Dean concluded.

Dell bolsters the University of Pisa’s remote learning HPC integrators can also help to modernise and update existing architectures to support new types of research. In the case of The University of Pisa, Dell was able to support the use of a new storage architecture that helped the staff transition to remote learning while also supporting advanced research. Maurizio Davini, CTO, University of

Pisa comments: ‘As we transitioned to remote learning, we needed reliable, scalable technology to provide our 53,000 students and faculty with quick, easy access to critical data and applications at all times, from any location. Dell EMC PowerStore is at the center of our IT modernisation efforts because it delivers the high performance and availability needed to support leading-edge teaching and research without any downtime or data loss.’ The university uses Dell hardware to

store scientific computing applications for genomics and biology, chemistry, physics and engineering. The Dell PowerStore’s NVMe-based, adaptable design delivered a 6x performance improvement on previous storage infrastructure, making applications faster and easier to access. PowerStore’s deduplication and

compression capabilities also have allowed the university to realise three times the capacity savings when compared to its previous storage infrastructure. PowerStore’s AppsON capability, which allows storage administrators to run applications directly on the storage array, has greatly simplified application and data mobility throughout its four data centers spread across the city. Jeff Boudreau, president and general manager, Infrastructure Solutions Group at Dell Technologies states: ‘Performance and availability are key for institutions like The University of Pisa that pursue critical

6 Scientific Computing World Summer 2021

“If manufacturers make HPC tightly integrated with their engineering simulation applications, it can be possible to make HPC just another tool for engineers”

medical and biological research. With the latest Dell Technologies storage systems, students and faculty have immediate access to the data and applications that drive meaningful research forward, even as Pisa has instituted remote learning.’ The university’s storage infrastructure

also includes a Dell EMC PowerMax storage array to support VDI and remote workstations and database workloads. With PowerMax, the university has experienced five times faster data processing and 80 per cent better performance for its essential applications, allowing them to access key research and applications faster than before. In order to support demanding AI and

bare-metal HPC workloads, The University of Pisa also uses Dell EMC PowerScale all- flash storage. PowerScale’s scalability and flexibility are important as the university expects its total amount of unstructured data to double within a year.

Supporting AI HPC integrators are no more impervious to the march of AI than other HPC companies and so they too must adapt to support this fast growing technology. In a recent announcement, European HPC specialist Atos announced it was partnering with Graphcore so that it could offer advanced AI solutions to scientists and researchers.

In a press release discussing the annocumnent Fabrice Moizan, general manager, and senior vice president Sales EMEAI and Asia Pacific at Graphcore commented: ‘ThinkAI represents a massive commitment to the future of artificial intelligence by one of the world’s most trusted technology companies. For Atos to have put Graphcore as a key part of its strategy says a great deal about the maturity of our hardware and software, and the ability of our systems to deliver on customer needs.’ ThinkAI brings together Atos’ AI business consultancy expertise - with its experts at the AtosCenter of Excellence in Advanced Computing - with its digital security capabilities and its software, such as Atos HPC Software Suites, to enable organizations to accelerate time to adopt AI technology. Graphcore, the UK-headquartered

maker of the Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU), plays a significant role in Atos’ ThinkAI offering, which is focused on the twin objectives of accelerating pure artificial intelligence applications and augmenting traditional HPC simulation with AI. Graphcore’s IPU-POD systems for scale-up data centre computing will be an integral part of ThinkAI. Agnès Boudot, senior vice president, head of HPC and Quantum at Atos said: ‘With ThinkAI, we’re making it possible for organizations from any industry to achieve breakthroughs with AI. Graphcore’s IPU hardware and Poplar software is opening up new opportunities for innovators to explore the potential of AI for their organizations, complemented with our industry-tailored AI business consultancy, digital security capabilities and software, we’re excited to be orchestrating these cutting-edge technologies in our ThinkAI solution.’

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