NEXTGenIO: the end is just the beginning

Author: Michele Weiland
Posted: 7 Nov 2019 | 14:55

After four years of hard work, the NEXTGenIO project has now come to an end. It has been an extremely enjoyable and successful collaboration with a dedicated group of HPC users, software and tools developers, and hardware providers from across Europe.

In late March this year, the system we designed and developed in the project – a 34-node prototype with Intel’s new DCPMM technology – was delivered to EPCC’s Advanced Computing Facility. Since then we have knuckled down and worked hard on integrating the system software stack, ensuring it is user friendly and robust. We have also spent a lot of effort on analysing the performance of our key applications, and the performance we see from the NEXTGenIO prototype is extremely impressive.

Some early results for the CASTEP computation chemistry code and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) weather forecasting simulation IFS are published in our SC19 Paper “An Early Evaluation of Intel’s Optane DC Persistent Memory Module and its Impact on High-Performance Scientific Applications”. For OpenFOAM, a popular CFD package, we see a huge improvement in the performance when writing data directly to the DCPMM, rather than writing to the parallel file system.

In September we ran the first NEXTGenIO hackathon. Held at ECMWF, attendees were given hands-on experience with the NEXTGenIO prototype and learned how to program the DCPMM (see photograph).

EPCC is committed to running the NEXTGenIO prototype for the next three years – so even though the project itself has ended, there is still a lot of life (and research) left in NEXTGenIO!


The Paper "Optane DC Persistent Memory Module and Its Impact on High-Performance Scientific Applications" will be presented at SC19. DCPMM, the new byte-addressable persistent non-volatile memory technology from Intel, promises to be an exciting opportunity, with unprecedented levels of capacity at near-DRAM speeds. See:

Accessing the NEXTGenIO prototype

If you are interested in using the NEXTGenIO prototype for your research, please get in touch to discuss your requirements:

Project website:


Michèle Weiland, EPCC