College of Science & Engineering

Upgrade helps supercomputer tackle new challenges

Complex scientific problems could be solved by researchers with improved access to supercomputing facilities, following a £2.4 million investment.

The UK’s leading supercomputing centre – EPCC – based at the University of Edinburgh, is to carry out a £2.4 million upgrade to its Cirrus system.

Its applications could include helping to design more efficient airplanes, solving complex climate change calculations or analysing financial patterns.

Powerful computation

Cirrus is one of several powerful supercomputers hosted by the University, and runs many processors in parallel in order to solve complex problems quickly.

Cirrus will have five times its current capacity in the upgrade, with improved processing power and storage.

This will enable the device, which currently helps businesses to speed products to market, to additionally address complicated scientific research challenges.

Data storage

A next-generation research data store is being installed in Cirrus to allow researchers to store, share and move data between different supercomputers.

Cirrus is an SGI ICE XA supercomputer which is housed at the University’s Advanced Computing Facility at Easter Bush. The site also hosts the UK national supercomputing service, called ARCHER.

The £2.4m funding is awarded as part of a £20m investment in UK high performance computing from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Cirrus’ upgrade is being developed in collaboration with the Universities of Bristol, Leeds and Strathclyde, and University College London.

More details are available at the Cirrus website.

EPCC is very proud to have won this funding, which has allowed us to hugely expand our Cirrus system. This will greatly benefit our scientific researchers and provide our industry users with a much larger resource.

Professor Mark ParsonsDirector, EPCC