DiRAC Extreme Scaling
DiRAC is the UK's integrated supercomputing facility for theoretical modelling and HPC-based research in particle physics, astronomy and cosmology.
EPCC hosts the Extreme Scaling componant of the DiRAC facility. The Extreme Scaling system (known as Tesseract) is a 840-node HPE/SGI Apollo 8600 HPC system housed at EPCC's Advanced Computing Facility. EPCC also provides service support for the entire DiRAC consortium.
HPC-based modelling remains an essential tool for the exploitation of observational and experimental facilities in astronomy and particle physics, as this technology allows scientists to test their theories and run simulations from the data gathered in experiments. The UK has an extremely strong HPC community and continued investment in these powerful computing facilities will allow it to pursue cutting-edge research on a broad range of topics, from simulating the entire evolution of the Universe (from the Big Bang to the present), to modelling the structure of matter.
DiRAC provides a variety of computer architectures, matching machine architecture to the algorithm design and requirements of the research problems to be solved. There are sound scientific reasons for this choice, which was adopted as a philosophy following a number of in-depth reviews involving the STFC research community which gave detailed advice on the nature and balance of resources required. The demands of the different research domains supported by STFC are such that a distributed installation was the most cost effective way to satisfy the varied scientific requirements.