Advanced Computing Facility

The Advanced Computing Facility (ACF) is the High Performance Computing (HPC) data centre of EPCC.

Computer Room 4 of the ACF

Built in the 1970s and operated by EPCC since the turn of the millennium, the ACF site has had significant investment over the years. At present, there are four Computer Rooms: Computer Room 1 (cr1), Computer Room 2 (cr2), Computer Room 3 (cr3) and Computer Room 4 (cr4).

Each hosts specific HPC equipment and is supported by associated plant rooms which provide dedicated power and cooling infrastructure for each room. We have several pieces of equipment and racks at our site which are “traditionally” air cooled, but the majority of our equipment and speciality high-performance computers are water cooled.

  • cr1 is supported by Plant Room A (prA) and Plant Room B (prB) and operates a variety of services including Tursa and some EIDF pioneer systems
  • cr2 is supported by prA and prB and operates a variety of services including Tesseract, Cirrus, NEXTGenIO and Fulhame
  • cr3 is supported by the dedicated Plant Room C (prC) and supports ARCHER2
  • cr4 is supported by dedicated Plant Room D (prD) and supports the Edinburgh International Data Facility (EIDF)

Technology

Interconnect technologies and specs
The ACF operates a 200 Gbit/s Data Centre Network to support systems hosted on-site and connects to JANET (the UK’s Joint Academic NETwork) at 100 Gbit/s for user access. 

Any other tech points not captured
Power capacity to site is currently 8MW with an additional 30MW capacity expected to come online later in 2021.

Layout/Physical system scale
cr1: 285m2
cr2: 285m2
cr3: 470m2
cr4: 500m2
prA: 250m2
prB: 475m2
prC: 750m2
prD: 878m2

Cooling tech and specs
We work to utilise free-cooling (the cooling of systems solely using outside air via water pumped to fans on our roof) as far as possible throughout the year and our systems will automatically use this whenever outside air temperatures are sufficiently low.

We would typically expect to make use of free-cooling where the outside air temperature is 12 degrees centigrade or less–much of the year in Scotland!

Cooling to our systems uses a variety of methods including direct air cooling, semi-direct water cooling and direct water cooling.

People

The ACF is managed by:

  • Director of HPC Systems: Paul Clark
  • Data Centre Manager: Calum Muir

The ACF is maintained and operated by the HPC Systems Team.