Atomic Weapons Establishment unveils two new distributed memory supercomputers

In order to enhance its ability to test the safety of weapons, the AWE plans to use two SGI ICE XA systems – consisting of compute nodes feature the Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors, capable of running complex workloads at petaflop speeds.

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The UK Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) has revealed details of its new supercomputer, using distributed memory technology from high performance computing specialist SGI.

The AWE, which is responsible for provision of nuclear warheads as part of the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent, is relies on scientific modelling to test the reliability of its weapons.

In order to enhance its ability to conduct tests, the AWE plans to use two SGI ICE XA systems – consisting of compute nodes feature the Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors, capable of running complex workloads at petaflop speeds.

The deal is part of a long-standing relationship between the two firms, with AWE investing in three SGI ICE X supercomputers last year to aid its design and production processes.

“High performance computing is a critical aspect of AWE, underpinning the vast majority of our science-based program, so we’re continually looking for ways to enhance and support the work conducted,” said Paul Tomlinson, head of high performance computing at AWE.

He added that SGI's new ICE XA systems, launched last year, will "enable us to quickly advance research and development so that we can continue to underwrite the safety and effectiveness of the Trident warhead in the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty era”.