NEXTGenIO: a step towards Exascale

Author: Mirren White
Posted: 27 May 2016 | 10:15


The NEXTGenIO project represents a step along the Exascale pathway.

We are developing a prototype platform that utilises the latest developments in memory technology, and that will offer vastly improved I/O performance compared to current HPC machines. The system will be developed end-to-end by the project partners – from inception through to delivery, with a full suite of systemware that can make use of the new technologies.

Large Synoptic Survey Telescope: data-intensive research in action

Author: George Beckett
Posted: 24 May 2016 | 09:49

This is an exciting time for astronomy in the UK, a fact that is reflected by our involvement and leadership of some amazingly ambitious new telescopes.

A number of recent, significant discoveries have propelled astronomy research into the spotlight. The discovery of dark matter and dark energy at the beginning of the 21st century over-turned our understanding of how the Universe works. And the first observation of a gravitational wave earlier this year confirmed Albert Einstein’s long-standing hypothesis precisely 100 years after it was first published in his general theory of relativity.

ExTASY: smarter simulations for chemists

Author: Mario Antonioletti
Posted: 23 May 2016 | 14:43

Last week I attended an ExTASY tutorial here in Edinburgh. The project aims to build a set of Extensible Tools for Advanced Sampling and Analysis (hence the name) to allow chemists who use computational methods and off-the-shelf molecular dynamics (MD) packages (such as GROMACS, AMBER and NAMD) to be cleverer and more efficient with their simulations.

The Extasy-based tools are well worth considering if you are doing MD calculations. If you want to be smarter about how you do your simulations, take a look at ExTASY.

Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry instructor-training in Edinburgh

Author: Giacomo Peru
Posted: 18 May 2016 | 17:13

On the 4th and 5th May 2016, the Software Sustainability Institute hosted a joint Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry instructor-training course here in Edinburgh.

The workshop was led by Steve Crouch, the Institute’s Research Software Group Leader, and Aleksandra Pawlik, the Institute’s Training Leader. The event was attended by 15 participants from a number of UK research organisations, including one from a Spanish university. These newly trained instructors will soon join the impressive UK instructor pool of almost 70 certified Data Carpentry and Software Carpentry instructors.

Software design in scientific computing

Author: Adrian Jackson
Posted: 10 May 2016 | 00:07

Useful software design

Prompted by a recent discussion of a blog post discussing applying commercial development techniques to academic software development, I've been trying to formalise the software design process I'd recommend to academic software developers.

Just the term, software design, puts a lot of people off. It sounds like a long, elaborate process, full of requirements capture and storyboards, but it really doesn't have to be. I think anyone who is writing programs will be doing some form of software design, even if that design is just following the process they've always used, but are just not formalising it. However, formalising your software design could bring important benefits.

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.

Mozilla Science Lab Global Sprint 2016

Author: Mario Antonioletti
Posted: 5 May 2016 | 15:51

We will be one of the participating sites at this year's Mozilla Science Lab Global Sprint here in Edinburgh.

The event will take place from 2nd-3rd of June, and will bring together researchers, developers, librarians and the general public from all over the world to hack on open science and open data projects.

Getting Wee Archie online: configuring a cluster for network access

Author: Alistair Grant
Posted: 29 Apr 2016 | 14:42

8x8 LED Matrix Connected to Raspberry Pi

At the tail end of last year, the EPCC Outreach team launched Wee Archie, a Raspberry Pi cluster designed to demonstrate parallel concepts and the type of work that is carried out on supercomputers such as ARCHER. Since the launch, Wee Archie has travelled around the UK including to Oxford, Birmingham and Dundee.

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.