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£3.2m funding for Midlands-based high performance computing centre

  • Will aid University of Warwick researchers to develop fast and efficient scientific software for future supercomputers
  • HPC Midlands Plus supercomputer will enable calculations up to four times larger than currently possible with local facilities
  • The facility will also support projects in nanomaterial design, quantum technologies and fluid dynamics

University of WarwickThe Midlands Innovation group of universities, which includes the University of Warwick, have been awarded £3.2million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to establish HPC Midlands Plus – a centre of excellence in high performance computing (HPC).

High performance computing is used to undertake complex simulations, to find solutions for challenging problems and to process vast quantities of data. It has the potential to act as a catalyst for breakthroughs across a wide range of sectors – from engineering, manufacturing and transport to finance, healthcare and energy.

Commenting on the University of Warwick’s involvement Dr David Quigley, of the Centre for Scientific Computing within Warwick’s Department of Physics, said:

“The new HPC Midlands Plus supercomputer will allow researchers at Warwick to redefine the scale of computational problem which can be tackled routinely. It will enable calculations up to four times larger than is possible with local facilities, as well as providing a test bed for new ways of tightly integrating large scale simulation with data analytics.

“We also gain access to a pool of research software development expertise beyond that available at any single partner university, allowing us to develop fast and efficient scientific software for this and future supercomputers. The facility will support projects in nanomaterial design, quantum technologies and fluid dynamics, with applications in new electronic devices, energy generation building design and many other areas.”

HPC Midlands Plus, which will be based at the Loughborough Science and Enterprise Park, will harness the seven universities’ collective expertise in high performance computing to drive forward research and innovation in this growing area.

It will feature a 14,336 core supercomputer with 65 TB RAM, high-speed Infiniband interconnect and a 1 PB file store supplied by ClusterVision and Huawei. It will also contain a large memory Power8 component for massive data processing with a dedicated high speed file store.

HPC Midlands Plus will provide technical support, training and expertise over a range of disciplines. Research software engineers will be employed at each of the partner universities to help users scale their codes to the new system and train new users.

The Centre will be used by universities, research organisations and businesses around the country, who will be able to maximise research and innovation opportunities faster and cheaper than ever before.

Professor Steven Kenny, Director of HPC Midlands Plus, said: “High performance computing technology pervades our everyday lives. For instance it is used in the design of aircraft engines and cars, the exploration of new materials for energy generation and storage, and the delivery of personalised healthcare.

“The universities involved in the consortium have so far used high performance computing to address a number of global challenges. The establishment of HPC Midlands Plus will enable us to combine our power to explore how high performance computing can impact even more sectors and emerging areas such as quantum technologies.”

HPC Midlands Plus is due to be officially launched in the spring of this year.

2 Feburary 2017

Contact:

Tom Frew, Senior Press and Media Relations Manager – University of Warwick:

E: a dot t dot frew at warwick dot ac dot uk

T: +44(0)7785433155