July 7 — Global microprocessor giant Intel has chosen the Hartree Centre, part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), as its newest ‘Intel Parallel Computing Center’ (Intel PCC). This new collaboration allows Intel and STFC’s Hartree Centre to work together on designing and testing software for the world’s most advanced microprocessors, the building blocks of the supercomputers of the future.
Initial focus will be on developments that will maximise energy efficiency in supercomputing power, and also on real UK industry requirements, starting with the optimisation of weather prediction software for future generations of the UK Met Office’s supercomputers.
David Willetts, the UK Minister for Universities and Science, said, “Intel has signalled a huge vote of confidence in UK research expertise by choosing the Hartree centre as its newest Intel Parallel Computing Centre. Forging these strong business and research partnerships is vital to cementing the UKs future as a global leader in this field and our role in developing the supercomputers of the future.”
High Performance Computing (HPC) is essential to tackling the world’s health, energy and environmental challenges, from predicting climate change to developing new medical treatments or fuel sources, using supercomputers that can perform trillions of calculations simultaneously per second. This is known as parallel computing. Today’s research faces limitations due to the amount of data, time and energy it takes to run these calculations. As supercomputers become increasingly parallel, this in turn requires whole new generations of software and microprocessor technologies that can cope with performing the billions and trillions of calculations per second.
Stephan Gillich, Director Technical Computing EMEA, Intel GmbH said: “Intel is pleased to be working with STFC’s Hartree Centre as the newest member of our Intel Parallel Computing Center program. By working together we enable modernization of key applications to unlock performance gains that come through parallelism.”
The Intel PCC at the Hartree Centre, which sits within the Sci-Tech Daresbury science and innovation campus, will also develop, test and optimise a next generation of software, the performance of which will be dramatically improved when operating on Intel’s advanced microprocessor technologies. This processor technology is significant to the development of an exascale supercomputer that may exist within the next five years. Both are already part of the Tianhe-2 supercomputer in China, the most powerful supercomputer in the world today.
Cliff Brereton, Director of STFC’s Hartree Centre, said, “The Hartree Centre is thrilled to join the Intel PCC program, through which we’ll be able to push all existing boundaries in hardware and software. This agreement will bring software solutions in areas of utmost importance to our economy and society, from weather prediction, to industrial applications and materials science. STFC and Intel share common goals that are to drive innovation for the next generation of supercomputer, to make HPC more accessible to industry, whilst training for our budding scientists and engineers of the future who will apply these new technologies to challenges of economic and societal importance.”
The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is keeping the UK at the forefront of international science and tackling some of the most significant challenges facing society such as meeting our future energy needs, monitoring and understanding climate change, and ensuring global security. STFC is one of seven publicly-funded research councils. It is an independent, non-departmental public body of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).