Cirrus Phase II: preparing for heterogeneity at the Exascale
EPCC is pleased to announce a major upgrade and extension to the life of the successful Cirrus EPSRC Tier 2 HPC service. As announced by the UK Government, EPCC has received £3.5m funding over 4 years to continue the Cirrus service until early 2024. We will add 144 NVIDIA V100 GPUs to the system and a 256TB high performance storage layer for the most demanding data streaming applications.
“Cirrus has already proven to be a valuable Tier 2 service. The Phase II funding from EPSRC will allow us to continue and grow the service we provide. I’m particularly pleased about the addition of the GPU blades – this will provide a key resource for users to explore programming frameworks and accelerated versions of their most commonly used applications.”
Professor Mark Parsons, EPCC Director
The new capability has two purposes:
- Preparing for heterogeneity at the Exascale. Two routes to the Exascale exist – a cores-only route or a cores plus accelerator approach. Worldwide, many supercomputers, including the world’s fastest, now use GPUs. The UK has not, to date, chosen this route but a large number of application codes now run well on heterogenous accelerated platforms. The new GPU resource on Cirrus allows users to experiment with this potential future architecture.
- Supporting the growth in AI and ML. EPCC’s limited investment in GPUs on Cirrus to date has clearly demonstrated demand for GPUs for AI and ML applications. We therefore expect a strong portfolio of projects seeking to use Cirrus Phase II for such applications.
Cirrus will be upgraded over the next couple of months. Some downtime will be inevitable, but we will do our best to minimise this. We will keep all users fully appraised of our plans and give early notice of all downtime.