Dezineforce launches low cost supercomputing for engineers

A British start-up is looking to massively reduce the cost of HPC for engineers.


A British company has developed a way to bring supercomputing technology to smaller companies. Dezineforce's Technical Computing handles complex simulations for design engineers and can provide results in minutes rather than hours.

The product, which is available in two forms: a 'Dezineforce Black Box' and in the cloud brings high performance computing (HPC) to any engineer who can switch on a toaster said Joe Frost, VP of sales.

The appliance itself has been designed to maximise a company's available resources. "The 'black box' is essentially HPC computing, configured specifically for design analyses, pre-installed with the analysis applications such as ANSYS Mechanical and LS-Dyna, a suite of operations tools and an advanced scheduler that manages the submitted jobs from all engineers against the available compute and analysis licence resources to ensure they're 'sweated' 24/7 to maximise their effectiveness," added Frost.

According to Dezineforce, offering HPC this way can provide substantial savings for a company. "The cost reduction comes as a result of a number of benefits, the costs of engineering design are dominated by 3 factors in order of magnitude of cost – the engineer, the analysis licence and the hardware," said Frost.

In particular, said Frost, companies wanted to minimise the cost of engineers. He pointed out that waiting for analyses to be completed was one of the biggest waste of engineer's time. "A shared, centralised resource with a decent scheduler eliminates this wait time. Running the analysis on an HPC machine (in parallel) also shortens the run times - anywhere from 10 to 50 times faster. "

Frost pointed out that the HPC box also offered a more efficient use of licences. "Many organisations will share the analysis licences across a number of engineers for cost reasons (they can cost £50,000 each per year)," he said. "The main problem arises when you have multiple engineers who need the licence resources simultaneously, or an engineer is hogging a licence." By using a centralised resource with a decent scheduler, organisations can manage the jobs against available licences. "This eliminates the licence contention issue and sweats the licenses 24/7, maximising their payback," said Frost.

The final cost saving is on the hardware itself. As Frost explained, most companies habitually deploy ever faster workstations to engineers, extending up to 12 or so cores with 8-12GB memory on individual desktops. But, as he said, "the problem here is that those resources are then tied to individual engineers and the utilisation of that resource sits at between 20-50 percent. Deploying a shared HPC computing environment reduces the desktop capital. The cost savings then come from the need to only deploy a machine capable of pre- and post-processing, saving at least £6,000 per desktop."

In addition, said Frost, Dezineforce builds its clusters from off the shelf hardware, which provides similar performance at much lower cost. "We're comparing 48 cores of specialist 'supercomputer' versus 48 cores of Dell-based 'supercomputer'. "

The company has already worked with construction company Arup on a project a recent project to cool a 65,000 seat sporting stadium in the Middle East.

What Arup required was access to high performance computing to perform detailed design analysis runs, plus design optimisation software to help them identify of the most effective plenum design from the output of 100's of simulation runs, said Frost. "The optimisation software helped with their decision making process and to reduce the number of simulations needed. One of their key challenges was that the performance that was required would have taken quite a long time to procure, install and configure and the project timescales did not allow that – so the Dezineforce HPC solution gave them what they needed instantly."

Dezineforce, which has its roots in the University of Southampton, is already available in Europe and will be available in the US next year.

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