July 02, 2013
NVIDIA will develop exascale-class supercomputers that feature hundreds of thousands of GPUs for the UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the organizations announced in June. The massive, government-funded systems will be used to further scientific research in the UK, and create a center of excellence for parallel programming.
The STFC's new NVIDIA-powered exascale systems will be used to help researchers in areas such as climate modeling, stress analysis, materials modeling, molecular modeling, and numerical weather simulation.
"This agreement combines NVIDIA's leading-edge GPU accelerator technologies and HPC expertise with STFC's software development expertise," said David Corney, acting director of STFC's Department of Scientific Computing, in a press announcement. "This unique combination will enable the development of next-generation massively parallel applications which will be used for exascale performance levels, or a thousand times more powerful than Blue Joule at STFC, the most powerful computer in the UK today."
The agreement will unite NVIDIA's hardware expertise with the STFC's proficiency in developing HPC software. The STFC says it will provide the software necessary to take advantage of a supercomputer that can process "a million trillion calculations per second," or an exaflop.
A timeline for the launch of the new exascale system was not provided. At the current pace of innovation, the exaflop barrier won't be broken for years. In a keynote address at the recent ISC 2013 event in Germany, NVIDIA chief scientist Bill Dally said that, to develop an exascale system within a decade, major breakthroughs are needed in chip design and parallel programming.
The STFC is publicly funded by the UK government to support and coordinate research in areas ranging from particle and nuclear physics to space, laser, and materials science. The group focuses on real-world problems that face the UK and its people, such as making new drugs, cleaner energy, and safer aircraft.
The UK government is making big investments to create a hub for HPC programming. In March of 2012, the government invested £37.5m in its well-regarded Daresbury Laboratory, which is slated to become a center of UK's HPC programming ramp-up.
"The government is investing in high performance computing to make the UK the location of choice for high tech research and innovation," Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said. "This partnership will bring together leading researchers and business. It confirms the position of Daresbury and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory as world-class science facilities."
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