|ClusterVision, specialists in high performance compute, storage and database clusters, has delivered a supercomputer facility to the University of Bristol with a compute capacity of more than 37 TeraFLOPs and a storage capacity of more than 200 terabytes. The central facility named "BlueCrystal" is one of the fastest in the UK and will revolutionise research at the university in areas such as climate change, drug design and aerospace engineering.
ClusterVision, working with IBM and ClearSpeed, already implemented phase 1 of the facility last year, and have since worked closely with Bristol University to design phase 2. Phase 2 of BlueCrystal contains 3360 Intel® Xeon® cores in 420 IBM x3450 servers, interconnected with a QLogic InfiniPath network and Nortel Ethernet networks. Storage is provided by 200 Terabytes of Data Direct Networks (DDN) RAID units and the IBM GPFS parallel file system. Furthermore, 24 ClearSpeed e620 Advance™ accelerator boards are integrated for specific computational acceleration. The software used to manage the cluster is the Linux-based ClusterVisionOS™ cluster operating system and software environment.
Dr Ian Stewart, Director of the University's Advanced Computing Research Centre, said: "Serious research in many disciplines can no longer be undertaken without High Performance Computing (HPC) and the University has recognised this through its investment in BlueCrystal. HPC-based research contributes significantly to University research income and will play an increasingly important role in teaching."
Over 160 researchers from across the University are already using BabyBlue and BlueCrystal. Major users include the climatologists in the School of Geographical Sciences who are developing models to predict climate change. These models require huge amounts of computing power and disk space, with a typical simulation taking three months to run and generating 10,000 gigabytes of output. Such models will help to identify where in the world may be at the highest risk of flooding. It will also contribute to the ability of climate scientists to monitor ice sheets in the Antarctic.
Computational modelling also plays a critical part in drug design. Researchers in the Department of Biochemistry are looking for anti-cancer drugs which will prevent secondary tumours developing from breast cancer. By using computer simulation to screen for suitable compounds, rather than undertaking exhaustive screening processes in the laboratory, the most promising compounds can be identified more quickly and become the focus of further research.
Researchers in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, who have close links with local aerospace companies, are using BlueCrystal to investigate the aerodynamics of helicopter blades. Billions of calculations are required, so using a supercomputer speeds up the process significantly and allows a level of resolution not previously possible.
Bristol's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eric Thomas, presided at the opening event in Bristol, with guests including Chief Executive of Bristol City Council, Jan Ormondroyd; the Lord-Lieutentant, Mary Prior; the Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councilor Royston Griffey; and IBM's Vice-President of Deep Computing, Dave Turek.
Dave Turek, Vice-president Deep Computing from IBM: "The new supercomputer facility at the University of Bristol is an exciting development and we are delighted that the University has chosen to work with IBM to create this leading-edge infrastructure. Bristol is a world-class facility with researchers leading work in some of the most significant areas of modern research. We look forward to collaborating with the University."
About the University of Bristol Advanced Computing Research Centre
The HPC facility is run by the Advanced Computing Research Centre, which has a mission to help establish Bristol University as a world-class centre for research employing advanced computing systems. The HPC facility has been developed in two phases, with the first phase going live in June 2007 and the second phase in April 2008. The project is a collaboration between the University of Bristol, ClusterVision, IBM and ClearSpeed. Further information about the High Performance Computing Facility can be found here.
ClusterVision is specialist in the design, implementation and support of small- and large-scale computer clusters. Their clustering technology provides a cost-effective alternative to traditional supercomputers by connecting multiple computers to form a unified powerful computing system. ClusterVision's team of experts has designed and built some of the largest and most complex computational, storage and database clusters in Europe. With a background in applied scientific research and practical experience with a wide range of HPC technologies, the team understands customers' requirements and provides tailor-made solutions. ClusterVision has offices in Amsterdam, Gloucester (UK), Munich, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Oslo and Madrid.
For more information
Dr ir Matthijs van Leeuwen
1045 AL Amsterdam
Tel: +31 20 407 7550
Fax: +31 84 759 8389
m [dot] vanleeuwen [at] clustervision [dot] com
|Left to right:
Dr ir Matthijs van Leeuwen
Sales Director ClusterVision
Permanent Secretary for the Dept for Innovation, Universities and Skills
Councillor Royston Griffey
Lord Mayor of Bristol
Prof. Eric Thomas
University of Bristol Vice-Chancellor
World-Wide Vice-President of Supercomputing at IBM
Dr Ian Stewart
Director of the University's Advanced Computing Research Centre
Dr ir Gerdjan Busker
UK Manager Clustervision