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Monday, April 16, 2018
Academia, HPE, Arm, SUSE, Collaborate to Drive UK Supercomputer Adoption


HPE, Arm, SUSE, and three UK universities establish one of the largest Arm-based supercomputer deployments in the world to advance digitisation of UK economy.

The partners will jointly develop and deploy one of the largest Arm-based high performance computing (HPC) installations in the world, available to both industry and academia, to build applications that drive economic growth and productivity as outlined in the UK government's Industrial Strategy.

Designed, built and supported by HPE, the deployment will be spread across three sites at Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC) at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Bristol, and the University of Leicester. The installation is due to be completed in summer 2018 and is part of a project known as Catalyst UK which will run for three years.

To further drive supercomputer adoption in the UK in general, and in the commercial sector in particular, the Catalyst UK programme will cooperate with the UK industry to jointly develop applications and workflows to best exploit the Arm system capabilities. The programme will also provide training for researchers, equipping them with the knowledge and skills required to successfully work with Arm-based systems in the future - with a specific focus on exascale computing, i.e. computers that can execute a billion billion calculations per second.

The key focus of the Catalyst UK programme is to investigate and showcase the potential of Arm-based HPC installations. This is one of the current approaches to overcome the limitations of traditional computer architectures and offer a better price-performance ratio for modern workloads and applications. This includes AI, which needs to process large amounts of data and requires extremely high memory bandwidth, and exascale computing, which requires HPC systems to be hundreds of times faster and more efficient than today's fastest supercomputers.

The three supercomputer clusters at EPCC, University of Bristol and University of Leicester will in total run more than 12,000 Arm-based cores, hosted by HPE Apollo 70 HPC systems. The clusters at each university will be largely identical, consisting of 64 HPE Apollo 70 systems, each equipped with two 32 core Cavium ThunderX2 processors, 128GB of memory composed of 16 DDR4 DIMMs with Mellanox InfiniBand interconnects. The operating system is SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for HPC. Each cluster is expected to occupy two computer racks and consume a total of approximately 30KW of power.


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