HPC Midlands+, a Tier 2 datacenter funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, is delivering a new supercomputer for the Midlands Innovation university consortium. The new system, called Sulis after a Celtic deity, is capable of around 1.8 peak petaflops of computing power and is sited at the University of Warwick.
Sulis, provided by OCF, consists of 167 dual-CPU Dell PowerEdge R6525 compute nodes equipped with AMD Epyc 7742 processors and 512GB of DDR4 memory, plus 30 Dell PowerEdge R7525 GPU nodes that each boast a trio of Nvidia A100 (40GB) GPUs. The system uses Mellanox InfiniBand HDR100 networking and is accompanied by 2PB of IBM Spectrum Scale storage (200TB solid state, 1.8PB hard disk). Sulis is replacing the Athena cluster and, its stewards say, now constitutes the largest system of its kind in the UK’s Midlands region. Sulis is housed in a new, energy-efficient datacenter at the University of Warwick and has a PUE of 1.12.
The system is specifically targeted at enabling the exploitation of parallelism – and, in particular, high-throughput computing – for ensemble workflows. These workflows are important for the university consortium’s members, which include the Universities of Aston, Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham, Queen Mary University of London and Warwick.
“Sulis is an HPC service developed with a strong steer from the HPC Midlands+ user community,” explained David Quigley, a professor of physics at Warwick and project lead at HPC Midlands+. “Many of our research activities are based on relatively modest simulations that we need to repeat many thousands of times with different inputs. This helps us make predictions based on large samples of data, understand how sensitive our models are to their inputs, and then quantify the robustness of our predictions.”
“This is great news,” added Andrew Morris, a professor in the University of Birmingham’s School of Materials. “We have needed a dedicated high-throughput supercomputer in the UK for some time. Just like with weather forecasting, where you run the prediction hundreds of times to find the percentage chance of rain, the same approach is required for lots of other scientific problems. We are delighted that, as part of the HPC Midlands+ consortium we can deliver this exciting new supercomputer to EPSRC-funded researchers throughout the UK.“
The University of Warwick also filmed a timelapse video of Sulis’ installation over the course of several weeks. To view the timelapse, visit the University’s page here. More information about Sulis can similarly be found here.
Header image: the Sulis datacenter. Image courtesy of the University of Warwick.