Reading Uni unveils souped-up supercomputer

A massive upgrade has given the University of Reading the second most powerful supercomputer in the UK – beaten to the top spot only by the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston.

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A massive upgrade has given the University of Reading the second most powerful supercomputer in the UK – beaten to the top spot only by the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston.

The supercomputer at the university’s advanced computing and emerging technologies (ACET) centre was designed, installed and configured by high performance computing integrator OCF using IBM technology. It is now ranked as the 36th-biggest supercomputer in the world.

The supercomputer provides the huge levels of computational power needed for modelling complex systems, scalable algorithms, collaborative tools and environments and is also used by the university for its research in areas including climate change, economic systems and complex biology.

Chris Guy, head of the university’s school of systems engineering at the University, said: “This powerful supercomputer will vastly improve the capability of the University of Reading scientists and others to model many aspects of our world, including such things as climate change, novel drugs and financial markets.

“More accurate predictions in each of these areas, as a result of better modelling, will enable us to make real changes to people’s lives by, for example, showing where flood defences should be built or speeding up the development of life-saving drugs.”

The upgrade means the supercomputer now has 700 IBM JS21 blades equipped with 3040 IBM PowerPC 970 processor cores, each running at 2.3GHz clock speed with a theoretical peak performance of 27.97TeraFlops, all connected via a Myrinet Interconnect, reaching a measured performance of 19.04TeraFlops. It has access to a 60TeraByte storage system.

IBM’s Blue Gene/L is still the fastest supercomputer in the world, rankings published in June showed.

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