EPCC MSc students visit the Advanced Computing Facility

12 March 2024

This year's cohort of students of our MSc programmes were invited to join a tour of the Advanced Computing Facility, learning about how we manage and support the systems we operate.

Photo shows man pretending to kick large computer system

Tours of our computer rooms always prove popular with our students, introducing them to the actual hardware they use during their time with us and demonstrating the breadth of computer and data technology we operate.

Visits also introduce them to the management of a high performance computing (HPC) centre, for example the ACF's innovative cooling infrastructure, and how we ensure the flooring is strong enough to bear the weight of such heavy hardware (the ARCHER2 system alone weighs approximately 100 tonnes).

As ACF staff explained, the site's most critical systems are supported by Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) and a stand-by generator, which enables the continuation of a suitable power supply during power interruptions or deviations. These systems can operate initially for around 24 hours, but can be supplemented for extended operation if necessary by refilling the generator fuel tanks.

Our students were especially interested in our Tier-2 service Cirrus. This system is used frequently across the MSc programmes so it was quite special for the group to finally see it. The tour also included explanations about the supporting ecosystem that ensures constant power to our HPC and data equipment, and the scale and complexity of it also caught our students’ attention.


Advanced Computing Facility


MSc programmes at EPCC


Above: Petter Sandås, a student of EPCC's MSc in HPC.

Immediately below: Titaporn Fongwattanagoon, of our on-campus MSc in HPC with Data Science. 

Below: (left) Hao Chu, a student of our on-campus MSc in HPC with Data Science, and (right) Thomas Flynn, a Newcastle University PhD student who is currently undertaking an internship at EPCC.


Photo shows young woman standing beside ARCHER2 computing cabinets
Photo shows two men standing in front of ARCHER2 supercomputer


Dr Ludovic Capelli
Photo of Ludovic Capelli.