HPC facilities

EPCC's Advanced Computing Facility: planning for future growth

Author: Paul Clark
Posted: 1 Feb 2021 | 12:10

Since 2005, the Advanced Computing Facility (ACF) has housed all the major systems managed by EPCC. It has expanded and evolved since its creation, becoming one of the most innovative and efficient facilities of its kind in the world.

The building and its internals have changed greatly since I started in February 2018, as part of a drive to ensure that our wider master planning for the site is reflected in what visitors see. This includes a video wall using Raspberry Pis and PiWall software to allow us demonstrate HPC visualisations to visitors.

We are developing a site-wide Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) approach which allows us to view real-time data or room and system performance on screens outside of different rooms and on our video wall.

In addition, the ACF has had significant investment over the years, most recently with the creation of Computer Room 4, the home of the new Edinburgh International Data Facility (EIDF). We also host and support a number of other HPC systems at the ACF, such as the National Tier-2 system, Cirrus. The first phase of the next UK national supercomputing service, ARCHER2, has also been installed.

EPCC’s Advanced Computing Facility: how it all began

Author: Guest blogger
Posted: 29 Jan 2021 | 11:03

EPCC's Advanced Computing Facility (ACF) was born through necessity – but the opportunity was taken to create an expandable and highly-efficient facility that attracted future business including national computing services. Mike Brown, EPCC’s Director of HPC Operations until 2017, gives an overview of the development of this unique building.

Update: The Edinburgh International Data Facility

Author: Rob Baxter
Posted: 13 Jan 2021 | 10:35

Work on the Edinburgh International Data Facility has passed three key milestones, bringing the infrastructure that will underpin the £600m Data-Driven Innovation Programme significantly closer to reality.

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, EIDF’s home, Computer Room 4 (cr4) at the University’s Advanced Computing Facility, completed its main construction phase at the end of the third quarter of 2020 and cr4 has entered its commissioning and fit-out phase.  If everything goes to plan, we will start to build infrastructure in the room from January 2021.

On-demand computing and data solutions for industry at EPCC

Author: Thomas Blyth
Posted: 27 Aug 2020 | 13:54

Cirrus is a Tier-2 state-of-the-art advanced computing facility available to industry and academia. Hosted and managed by EPCC, it provides an ideal platform for solving computational, simulation, modelling, and data science challenges. 

The system was recently upgraded via a £3.5m funding award from the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. This included the addition of 144 NVIDIA V100 GPUs and a 256TB high-performance storage layer for the most demanding data-streaming applications. 

Edinburgh International Data Facility Summer 2020 update

Author: Rob Baxter
Posted: 30 Jul 2020 | 11:44

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, work is proceeding on the development of the Edinburgh International Data Facility (EIDF) and the advanced computing facility that will host it.

The EIDF is the underpinning data infrastructure of the activities of the Edinburgh and South-East Scotland Data Driven Innovation (DDI) Programme. It supports data and computing activities across all areas of the Programme and was, until February 2020, known by its original name of World Class Data Infrastructure (WCDI).

First phase of ARCHER2 installed at Advanced Computing Facility

Author: Lorna Smith
Posted: 15 Jul 2020 | 15:41

ARCHER2, the new UK national supercomputing service, is a world-class advanced computing resource for UK researchers. The service is due to commence later in 2020, replacing the current ARCHER service. 

The four-cabinet Shasta Mountain system completed its journey from Cray’s Chippewa Falls factory in the US to EPCC’s Advanced Computing Facility in July. This is the first phase of the 23-cabinet system of ARCHER2, the UK’s next national supercomputing service.

First phase of ARCHER2 arrives in Edinburgh!

Author: Lorna Smith
Posted: 13 Jul 2020 | 10:45

The four-cabinet Shasta Mountain system, the first phase of the 23-cabinet system, has completed its journey from Chippewa Falls in Wisconsin, making its way from Prestwick airport to Edinburgh this morning.   

The arrival of these large crates has, I admit, generated quite a lot of excitement here. Moving these specialist systems and getting the right people here to install them is a logistical challenge at the best of times, but with the necessary Covid-19 restrictions this has been considerably more challenging than usual. We are really grateful to our colleagues at Cray/HPE for all their planning and perseverance! It is a huge step forward to see these systems on site. You will be reassured to know that all necessary safety precautions have been taken to meet Covid-19 guidance and to keep everyone safe.  

ARCHER2: first four cabinets ship from the US

Author: Lorna Smith
Posted: 7 Jul 2020 | 10:04

Covid-19 has created significant challenges for the delivery of the new ARCHER2 system. It is therefore really exciting to see the first 4 cabinets of ARCHER2 leave Cray/HPE’s factory in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin to begin their journey to Edinburgh.  

ARCHER2 will replace the current ARCHER system, a Cray XC30, as the UK’s National HPC system. Once fully configured, this should provide an average of over 11 times the science throughput of ARCHER.

Enabling research access to historic geospatial data of places around the globe

Author: Guest blogger
Posted: 5 May 2020 | 11:28

The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP) is an early adopter of the Edinburgh International Data Facility, which is being developed by EPCC. Dr Allan Williams, Head of the Collection, explains the benefits of the collaboration.

One of the largest collections of aerial photography in the world, the National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP) holds tens-of-millions of high-quality analogue images that record key moments in world history, and places around the globe. NCAP is the official custodian of UK government military-declassified aerial imagery created from the 1920s onwards, it also holds imagery commissioned by UK government civilian agencies and air survey photography created by commercial partners.

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