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Hartree Centre to take delivery of powerful new generation supercomputer

20 January 2017

The high performance computing needs of UK industry and academia are set to receive a tremendous boost thanks to a major collaboration between STFC’s Hartree Centre and leading digital services company Atos UK&I.

Robin Pinning with Andy Grant

(Right) Robin Pinning (Chief Technology Officer at STFC’s Hartree Centre) with (left) Andy Grant (Head of Big Data and HPC, Atos UK&I)
(Credit: STFC/Atos)

The collaboration includes the purchase of the UK’s first Bull Sequana X1000 supercomputer system, one of the most powerful in the world, capable of performing 3.4 quadrillion calculations per second.  It will allow both academic and industry organisations to try out the state-of-the-art technology and develop applications using the latest advances in artificial intelligence and high performance data analytics.

Focus will be on a number of activities aimed at addressing the Government’s Industrial Strategy which encourages closer collaboration between academia and industry, including:

  • The launch of a new UK based High Performance Computing (HPC) as a Service Offering (HPCaaS) providing an extremely beneficial way for organisations both large and small to take advantage of extreme computing performance through easily accessible cloud portals without having to become experts on the underlying technology.
  • ‘Deep Learning’ as a service (DLaaS); an emerging cognitive computing technique with broad applicability from automated voice recognition to medical imaging. The technology can be used, for example, to automatically detect anomalies in mammography scans with a higher degree of accuracy than the human eye.
  • Enhancing small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) access by encouraging high-tech business innovation amongst the SME community across the UK.

The partnership will also encompass areas such as co-design to develop next generation hardware and software solutions and application optimisation services to allow maximum benefit to be gained from commercial and academic users of the Hartree systems.

A key focus of the collaboration will be energy efficient computing – tools and techniques that can be used to reduce the energy footprint of large supercomputers. Bull sequana’s state-of-the-art packaging and cooling technology has been designed to accommodate future generations of processor, interconnect and accelerator technology that will allow exascale levels of performance to be realised whilst at the same time offering a reduced environmental footprint. The new Bull sequana system will be listed high within the Green500 list of most energy efficient computers.

The Bull Sequana system will aid Hartree in continuing to be one of the ‘go-to’ places in the UK for technology evaluation, supporting the work of major companies in fields ranging from engineering and consumer goods to healthcare and pharmaceuticals.”

Andy Grant, Head of Big Data and HPC, Atos UK&I: “We believe that our Bull supercomputing technology, people and collaborative approach will reinforce the Centre’s reputation as a world class HPC centre of excellence and as the flagship model for industry-academic collaboration.

“Atos’ HPC innovation also delivers environmental benefits as use of direct liquid cooling technology means Bull sequana is amongst the most energy efficient general purpose supercomputer ever built.”

Alison Kennedy, Director of the Hartree Centre said: “The Hartree Centre works at the leading edge of emerging technologies and provides substantial benefits to the many industrial and research organisations that come to us.  Our collaboration with Atos will ensure that we continue to enable businesses, large and small, to make the best use of supercomputing and Big Data to develop better products and services that will boost productivity and drive growth.” 

Notes to Editors

For further information contact:

About Atos

Atos SE (Societas Europaea) is a leader in digital services with pro forma annual revenue of circa EUR 12 billion and 100,000 employees in 72 countries including the UK & Ireland where around 10,000 employees deliver business technology solutions for some of the largest public and private sector partners. On a global scale, the Group provides Consulting & Systems Integration services, Managed Services & BPO, Cloud operations, Big Data & Cyber-security solutions, as well as transactional services through Worldline, the European leader in the payments and transactional services industry. With its deep technology expertise and industry knowledge, the Group works with clients across different business sectors: Defense, Financial Services, Health, Manufacturing, Media, Utilities, Public sector, Retail, Telecommunications, and Transportation. Atos is focused on business technology that powers progress and helps organizations to create their firm of the future. The Group is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic & Paralympic Games and is listed on the Euronext Paris market. Atos operates under the brands Atos, Atos Consulting, Atos Worldgrid, Bull, Canopy, Unify and Worldline. Follow @Atos

  • On 10 January 2017 Atos announced The Pirbright Institute has chosen an Atos Bull supercomputer. HPC and Big Data technology provided by Atos will speed up the processing of omics information and epidemiological studies at the Institute, a world leading centre of research into viral diseases of livestock and those that spread from animals to people
  • Bull sequana from Atos is a result of a long-term collaboration between Atos-Bull and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and provides a flexible, modular and adaptable environment that can accommodate future blade systems for Deep Learning, Many Core and ARM based computing. sequana has also been designed to accommodate exascale computing.
  • Thanks to its innovative liquid cooling technology and build density the Bull sequana is one of the most energy efficient HPC systems anywhere, ranked within the TOP20 of Green500 list of the most energy efficient supercomputers in the world. Its advanced design allows the direct liquid cooling technology to extract 100% of heat from the system, vastly reducing the overall total cost of ownership. Atos recognises that innovative ideas and technologies for energy efficient computing are vital for enabling sustainable businesses and to drive environmental benefits.

Last updated: 20 January 2017


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