Category Archives: Member News

SC16 WHPC workshop

Call for Early Career Poster Presenters for the Women in High
Performance Computing workshop at Supercomputing 2016
Sunday, November 23, 2016

Are you an early career woman who uses HPC or works in developing new
HPC technologies? We want to hear from you!
As part of the 2016 SC WHPC workshop we invite submissions from women to present their work to the HPC community as a poster and lightening talk. There will be the opportunity to meet with leading employers from across the HPC community and discuss your work with them. After submission, presenters will be provided with a mentor to aid in the preparation of their poster and lightning talk before the workshop. Submissions for posters are invited as short abstracts (max 300 words) in any area that utilises high performance computing.

We encourage all women using HPC in their to apply whether as a user, developer, practitioner, sys admin or technician. Benefits of participating:

– Present: successful authors will present their work in a lightening talk at the workshop to an HPC audience, including peers and leading women across the international HPC community.
– Networking: build your HPC network, meet peers and potential employers.
– Advice and mentoring: Receive expert advice and mentorship to help prepare for your poster and presentation, developing skills for the future
– Participate: the workshop will include a session on ’Skills to thrive’ in your career  Stay for the rest of SC16 and join over 12,000 people to learn about the variety of activities and opportunities in the international high performance computing community.

Full details are available here on the Women in HPC website:

Hartree Centre Summer Schools 2016

Save the date! Four Weeks, four subjects:

  • Big Data: w/c 13th June
  • Engineering Simulation: w/c 27th June
  • Visualisation: w/c 11th July
  • HPC: w/c 18th July

Registration opens: Monday 4th April 2016
Delegate rate: £150 per week

Enhance your skills in these highly demanded core technologies and exploit their potential for research and business.

Wilkes Supercomputer at Cambridge remains “Greenest”

The supercomputer that is the “greenest of its kind” remains at Cambridge University. Wilkes (named after computing pioneer Maurice Wilkes) is used for development of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). While it is some way off being the most powerful in the world – Wilkes was built to be efficient rather than powerful. “Energy-efficiency is the biggest single challenge in supercomputing today and our new system makes an important step forward in this regard,” said Dr Paul Calleja, director of the Cambridge High Performance Computing Service. Wilkes remains in 2nd place on the Green 500, a ranking of the most energy-efficient computers published in June 2014. However the leading machine, built by a team in Tokyo, requires an oil-cooling system, whereas Wilkes is cooled using air, making it the most efficient of its kind. Other UK entrants in the Top 100 include STFC (26,81,&85), University of Edinburgh (31), AWE (62&63) and University of Southampton (91)

ARCHER supercomputer inaugurated

A new generation supercomputer, capable of more than one million billion calculations a second, is to be inaugurated at an event at the National Museum of Scotland today (Tuesday 25 March 2014).

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.

Its magnitude and design will enable scientists to tackle problems on a scale that was previously thought impossible.

The system, at the University of Edinburgh’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.

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.

Cray technician inspects ARCHER supercomputer
Cray technician inspects ARCHER supercomputer

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.

Professor David Delpy, CEO of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, said: “EPSRC is proud to unveil this new ARCHER service. It 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 to improve understanding across many fields and develop solutions to global challenges.”

Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Principal of the University of Edinburgh, said: “The University of Edinburgh has for many decades been a pioneer in High Performance Computing. Now that Big Data is reaching into an even greater range of areas we are delighted to have the ARCHER facility and its support at Edinburgh. Together with the UK Research Data Facility, we and the Research Councils have a facility unique in the UK, combining some of the world’s most powerful computers with a vast datastore and analysis facilities. We will work with the Research Councils and UK researchers to generate world-leading research and business impact.”

Stephan Gillich, Director Technical Computing EMEA, Intel, said: “ARCHER is the highest ranked UK supercomputer on the Top 500 list of November 2013. Based on Intel Xeon E5 v2 processors, the system is designed to deliver sustained performance and scalability, providing researchers and scientists with a powerful, reliable and productive tool.”

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.

The event at the National Museum of Scotland will involve representatives from the University, Cray, the Natural Environment Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

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RCUK and big data

Big data is a term for a collection of datasets so large and complex that it is beyond the ability of typical database software tools to capture, store, manage, and analyse them. ‘Big’ is not defined as being larger than a certain number of ‘bytes’ because as technology advances over time, the size of datasets that qualify as big data will also increase. Research Council funded research over the decades has not only improved the software which analyses the data but has also enabled mass datasets to be captured which helps us understand and interpret our society and world around us.

From the fastest computers being built in the 1960s by Research Council funded researchers at Manchester University that could store both data and programmes, to the Rutherford Appleton lab Tier-I Grid computing service which sustains record breaking data transfer to CERN, UK researchers have been at the heart of technological developments to sustain and enable big data to develop.

Big data has played an essential part of understanding our society and the world around us. From the 1970s Research Council funded researchers have been using cohort studies to collect data on births and families. The British Cohort Study showed that assessments of school-aged children suggest that their development is not affected by whether or not their mother worked during their first year of life.

Over time the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and then Research Councils’ Millennium Cohort Study have provided a vast amount of data over the years which have assisted scientists across the world with research into health and social problems. More recently, Research Council funded researchers for the Understanding Society project have provided approximately three billion data points of information, and the 2014 Life Study, the UK’s largest national birth cohort study so far will gather data on 100,000 babies born in the UK – all of which will help to inform policy-makers policymakers and governments in the years to come.

The UK’s Research Councils have played a vital role in the development of big data – and this in turn has had a significant impact on placing the UK as a world leading authority in many areas. From understanding our environment, where the first map of ice thickness was published by the British Antarctic Survey which reduced the global estimates on freshwater by 10 per cent, to enhancing our technology so research into genetic advancements can be made, researchers funded by the Research Councils have played a significant role in worldwide advancements, and will likely do so for years to come.

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Bristol joins Intel Parallel Computing Center Program to collaborate on parallel computing

Modern computer systems are becoming increasingly parallel, which can make them much more challenging to use efficiently.

Intel® Parallel Computing Centers (IPCCs) are being established with leading high performance computing (HPC) research groups in order to directly combat the challenge of using modern computer systems more efficiently.

Intel has selected the University of Bristol as an IPCC, in recognition of the university’s HPC group’s world-leading research into the efficient use of many-core parallel computer architectures, and its leadership in driving open parallel programming standards.

The University will collaborate with Intel to develop parallel algorithms and optimise several of Bristol’s HPC applications for Intel’s latest parallel computer architectures, such as the Intel® Xeon Phi ™ Coprocessor.

Simon McIntosh-Smith, Senior Lecturer in High Performance Computing and Architectures in the Department of Computer Science, said “I’m delighted Intel has chosen to partner with the University of Bristol for its first IPCC in the UK. Our HPC group is a world leader in optimising parallel algorithms for very parallel architectures, such as the many-core Intel Xeon Phi Coprocessors, and we are recognised as champions of open standards for parallel programming including OpenMP and OpenCL. We will also be collaborating in HPC training, and will leverage Bristol’s exciting undergraduate and masters course in high performance computing.

“We look forward to working closely with Intel to help design the next generation of highly parallel HPC applications, and in training the next generation of parallel programming experts.”

Joe Curley, Director of Marketing for Technical Computing Group at Intel Corporation, added: “The University of Bristol combines both a demonstrated ability to innovate and optimize parallel applications using open, industry-standard techniques with a focus on practical education of the next generation of application developers.

“Intel is pleased to expand our Intel® Parallel Computing Center program by collaborating with the University of Bristol, to innovate and optimize applications in the field of computational fluid dynamics and molecular dynamics to benefit research and industry in Europe and worldwide.”

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‘Greenest’ supercomputer unveiled at Cambridge University

A supercomputer that is the “greenest of its kind” has been built at Cambridge University.

Wilkes – named after computing pioneer Maurice Wilkes – will be used for development of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

When complete the SKA will be the biggest radio telescope ever made.

The computer’s power is the equivalent of 4,000 typical desktop computers all working together, the university said.

While it is some way off being the most powerful in the world – it ranks at 166th – Wilkes was built to be efficient rather than powerful.

“Energy-efficiency is the biggest single challenge in supercomputing today and our new system makes an important step forward in this regard,” said Dr Paul Calleja, director of the Cambridge High Performance Computing Service.

W Renwick and M Wilkes, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge
The new computer is named after Maurice Wilkes, right
It has an energy efficiency of 3,361 Mega-flops per watt. In simple terms, “flops” (floating point operations per second) is a measure of how much computing a machine can handle at once.

Wilkes comes in 2nd place on the Green 500, a ranking of the most energy-efficient computers. However the leading machine, built by a team in Tokyo, requires an oil-cooling system, whereas Wilkes is cooled using air, making it the most efficient of its kind.

Maurice Wilkes was the man behind EDSAC, the first programmable computer to come into general use – it was designed in 1947 and ran its first program on 6 May 1949.

A team at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park are currently in the process of building an authentic replica of EDSAC.

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