EPCC's expertise in both hardware facilities and software applications mean we are well-placed to contribute to national and international efforts to provide important e-infrastructure.
The PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe) project is intended to prepare for the creation of a persistent pan-European high-performance computing service, based on an infrastructure of around 4–5 Petaflop-scale supercomputers (1 petaflop is 1015 flops, or floating point operations per second). EPCC has a leading role in ensuring that we understand how the major applications used across Europe can exploit these large systems. Such applications include those used by chemists in drug discovery, and those used by engineers for aircraft design. This will mean that both industrial and academic users can employ these powerful, but expensive, infrastructures in an efficient and effective way to do their work.
This work will also inform the move from petascale machines (running at 1015 flops) to the exascale regime (machines running at 1018 flops). Such exascale machines are expected to be in existence by around 2020. See also Software for future HPC systems.