Latest Top500 list, looking beyond the number 1

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 21 Jun 2016 | 17:13

There's been a lot of discussion about the latest Top500 list, released this week at ISC16.  Most of the interest has been in the whopping new Chinese system, Sunway TaihuLight, which has come in at number 1 on the list with a massive 93 PFlop/s rpeak Linpack performance, and 125 PFlop/s rmax theoretical peak performance (3 times bigger than the previous number 1 system).Top500

Whilst this is a very interesting system, and much bigger than is currently planned elsewhere, it's not unknown for very large systems to come in and dominate the list like this.  Back in 2002, the Japanese Earth Simulator system became the number 1 machine with an rpeak of ~5x that of the previous number 1 system, and it stayed as the top machine for a number of years.

Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 15 Jun 2016 | 13:35

This week sees our annual collaboration workshop with Tsukuba University, Japan (more details are available here).  This is a great chance to get a flavour of the kind of research another HPC centre is undertaking, how they work, and what platforms they are investing in.

The Centre for Computational Sciences (CCS) at Tsukuba is a department very like EPCC, in that it is responsible for high performance and parallel computing at the university, runs and supports large-scale computers for researchers, and undertakes parallel computing research.

Fortissimo Marketplace: a one-stop-shop for modelling and simulation services

Author: Mark Sawyer
Posted: 3 Jun 2016 | 14:34


A consortium of Europe’s leading supercomputing centres and HPC experts is developing the Fortissimo Marketplace, a one-stop-shop where end-users will access modelling and simulation services, plus high-performance data analytics.

Better programming languages for HPC

Author: Stephen Booth
Posted: 5 May 2016 | 16:43

Recently I seem to have had many conversations about programming languages for HPC. In some ways this is not a new subject - I have been having similar conversations for the last 20 years. However as HPC hardware evolves, machines become more complex and the issues that need to be addressed by programmers also become more complex. So it is not surprising that we are wondering if there is more the compiler could be doing to help us.

Intel compiler on ARCHER

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 26 Apr 2016 | 13:07


I had a recent query from some users with a problem with the default version of the Intel Fortran compiler on ARCHER (v15.0.2.164).  It was a nice query to get because the users had done all the work already; they'd identified the problem, found a test code that demonstrated it, and told me what the solution would be for them.

Fortunately, the solution was easy, this bug has been fixed in a newer version of the compiler (, which is installed and available on ARCHER, but just isn't the default (we tend to keep the default version slightly behind the latest release but as new as possible), so they simply have to swap the compiler modules then their code can compile and run correctly.

How using HPC can help businesses compete in today’s world

Author: Mark Parsons
Posted: 22 Apr 2016 | 14:22

Through funded experiments, Fortissimo helps SMEs take advantage of business benefits enabled through HPC technologies. Visit our stand in Hannover Messe to see the world’s first production ‘megacar’ designed and built by the Swedish SME, Koenigsegg.

HPC hardware in 2016 and beyond

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 19 Apr 2016 | 23:14

Anyone taking more than a passing interest in HPC hardware recently will have noticed that there are a number of reasonably significant trends coming to fruition in 2016. Of particular interest to me are on-package memory, integrated functionality, and new processor competitors.  Intel Xeon Phi (KNL) Die

On-package memory, memory that is directly attached to the processor, has been promised for a number of years now. The first product of this type I can remember was Micron's Hybrid Memory Cube around 2010/2011, but it's taken a few years for the hardware to become mature enough (or technically feasible and cheap enough) to make it to mass market chips. We now have it in the form of MCDRAM for Intel's upcoming Xeon Phi processor (Knights Landing), and as HBM2 on Nvidia's recently announced P100 GPU.

HPC Community Survey

Author: Guest blogger
Posted: 30 Mar 2016 | 17:23

This blog article comes from one of our current Phd students: Athina Frantzana, who is researching the obstacles facing women in the HPC community, and how equality can be improved.

The under-representation of women in STEM workforces has been a widely discussed subject in recent years. However, the recording and analysis of data regarding the gender balance of HPC remains rare.

Our study is a preliminary analysis of workforce and research participation in HPC, and aims to quantify the current level of representation of women in HPC and to provide a baseline for evaluating possible reasons and suggesting ways for future changes to the demographics.

Debugging in 5D

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 24 Feb 2016 | 16:41

Or why debugging is hard and parallel debugging doubly so

Computing bug: Grace Hopper's famous bug found in 1947 in a relay in the Mark II computer, taped it to the operations logbook with the annotation "First actual case of bug being found". Image courtesy of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, VA., 1988. - U.S. Naval Historical Center Online Library Photograph

Debugging programs is hard. I give a lecture on debugging for the Programming Skills module of EPCC's MScs in HPC and HPC with Data Science where we try to point out common programming mistakes, programming strategies for making bugs less likely, and the skills and tools required for investigating, identifying, and fixing bugs.

HPC-CORE simulation software workshop

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 31 Jan 2016 | 23:07
Tidal simulation

Lancaster University, 7-8 April 2016

The programme for the HPC-CORE (High Performance Computing-based Computational fluid dynamics for Offshore Renewable Energy) workshop has now been published. This event brings together scientific specialists from Engineering, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, and HPC experts to discuss the state of the art for simulation software, and the leading-edge simulations being undertaken with such software.


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