STFC Hartree Centre signs agreement with Lenovo for state-of-the-art supercomputer | Technology

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A powerful new supercomputer, at The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), will help UK industry to harness the potential of artificial intelligence (AI)

March 26, 2024 – The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has signed an agreement with Lenovo for the installation of a powerful new supercomputer for the STFC Hartree Centre.

Ten times more powerful than its predecessor, but using less electricity thanks to Lenovo’s direct water cooling, the new supercomputer will power AI research for UK industry

The new supercomputer is part of the Hartree Centre’s £210 million Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation (HNCDI) programme, which provides UK industry access to state-of-the-art digital technologies and expertise and is complementary to investments in the wider AI Research Resource (AIRR).

It will support the HNCDI’s rapidly expanding supercomputing and AI activities, and will be installed later this year at its new £30 million supercomputing centre, currently under construction.

A leap in supercomputing processing power

A 44.7 petaflop system, the Lenovo ThinkSystem Neptune will perform more than 44 quadrillion floating point operations (calculations) per second.

To put this into context, if you were to carry out one calculation per second, it would take nearly 1400 million years to reach this number.

The new GPU-based system (graphics processing unit) is perfect for AI workloads, and marks a significant leap for the Hartree Centre’s capabilities, with ten times the processing power of its current system, Scafell Pike. Furthermore, it will be more power-efficient, taking up less space and using less electricity per unit of performance.

The new supercomputer uses innovative warm water cooling which can reduce energy demands by up to 40% while boosting performance by up to 10%.

L-R: David Cable, Kate Royse, Rebecca Millhouse, Noam Rosen, Robin Pinning, Jim Roche, Kate Steele, Adelina Alexe, Mark Dean, Mark Mawson, and Michael Jullien.

Powering UK Industry with AI

Located at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, at Sci-Tech Daresbury in the Liverpool City Region, the Hartree Centre is the UK’s only supercomputing centre dedicated to industry engagement. This capability will drive forward innovation in industry use cases and applications.

Its HNCDI programme plays a vital role in equipping businesses with skills and technical knowledge to adopt emerging digital technologies, including supercomputing, quantum computing, and AI.

It is enabling productivity, innovation and growth in UK organisations through access to these advanced supercomputing technologies, which are typically available only to academia and large-scale…

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