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March 25, 2014

ARCHER Supercomputer Unveiled at Edinburgh

March 25 — A supercomputer capable of more than one million billion calculations a second has been launched at the University. The £43 million ARCHER (Academic Research Computing High End Resource) system will provide high performance computing support for research and industry projects in the UK.

ARCHER will help researchers carry out sophisticated, complex calculations in diverse areas such as simulating the Earth’s climate, calculating the airflow around aircraft, and designing novel materials.

Large-scale problems

“The University of Edinburgh has for many decades been a pioneer in High Performance Computing. We are delighted to have the ARCHER facility and its support at Edinburgh,” said Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Principal of the University of Edinburgh.

ARCHER’s magnitude and design will enable scientists to tackle problems on a scale that was previously thought impossible. The system, housed at the University’s Advanced Computing Facility at Easter Bush, has up to three and a half times the speed of the HECTOR supercomputer system, which it replaces. ARCHER’s twin rows of sleek black cabinets are supported by the newly installed UK Research Data Facility.

Big data

The system brings together the UK’s most powerful computer with one of its largest data centres. This creates a facility to support Big Data applications, which has been identified by the UK Government as one of its Eight Great Technologies. The building housing the ARCHER system is among the greenest computer centres in the world, with cooling costs of only eight pence for every pound spent on power.

Systems support

“ARCHER will enable researchers in engineering and the physical sciences to continue to be at the forefront of computational science developments and make significant contributions in the use of Big Data,” said Professor David Delpy, CEO of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

ARCHER was supplied by US computing experts Cray and is funded and owned by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The Massively Parallel Processor uses Cray’s XC30 hardware. Intel’s Xeon E5-2600v2 processor series enables ground-breaking performance, scalability, and maximises energy efficiency.

Systems support for the machine will be provided by the University’s EPCC and Daresbury Laboratory. Science, user and engineering support will also be provided by EPCC.

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Source: The University of Edinburgh

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