Science and Technology Facilities Council
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STFC Hartree Centre signs agreement with Lenovo for new supercomputer

A powerful new supercomputer will help UK industry to harness the potential of artificial intelligence (AI).

Kate Royse, Director, STFC Hartree Centre, with Noam Rosen, EMEA Director HPC/AI, Lenovo. Credit: STFC

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has signed an agreement with Lenovo for the installation of a new state-of-the-art 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.

The supercomputer is complementary to investments in the wider AI Research Resource.

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.

For context, if you were to carry out one calculation per second, it would take nearly 1,400 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 10 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%.

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 industry.

Solving global challenges

At the HNCDI, the new supercomputer will be strategically positioned to contribute to discovery-led industrial research, focusing on solutions to global challenges in areas such as:

  • weather and climate modelling
  • cleaner energy initiatives
  • drug discovery
  • health technologies
  • new materials
  • automotive advancements
  • legal applications

This includes the Hartree Centre’s continued collaboration with the UK Atomic Energy Authority, which is using the centre to research new reactors for clean nuclear fusion energy.

Ultimately, the new supercomputer will reduce the time and cost associated with making research breakthroughs.

This includes research for organisations such as the Met Office, Unilever and Rolls Royce, which the Hartree Centre has continued to work with over the last decade.

Unlocking potential

Kate Royse, Director, STFC Hartree Centre, yesterday said:

We are very excited to be working with Lenovo on our next generation of supercomputer at the Hartree Centre.

Our mission is to equip UK industry with the knowledge, skills and compute needed to fully unlock the potential of advanced digital technologies.

With our new supercomputer we will be able to support UK industry in the use of big data and AI technologies to enable UK businesses to take a leading role internationally on the responsible adoption and exploitation of AI technology.

A cornerstone for innovation

Noam Rosen, EMEA Director HPC and AI, Lenovo, yesterday said:

Lenovo is equally enthusiastic about our collaboration with the Hartree Centre on its ambitious journey to revolutionize HPC and AI capabilities in the UK.

Our collaboration is not just about delivering a state-of-the-art supercomputer; it’s about building a versatile, robust and powerful system tailored to meet the Centre’s diverse and evolving needs.

From advanced modeling and simulation in various scientific disciplines to pioneering work in AI and machine learning, this new power-efficient supercomputer will be a cornerstone for innovation, pushing the boundaries of big data and AI technologies to bolster the UK industry’s global leadership in responsible and ethical technology adoption.

Driving productivity and job creation

Mark Thomson, Executive Chair, STFC, yesterday said:

STFC’s agreement with Lenovo is an exciting milestone in our mission to provide UK businesses with access to the vital infrastructure and expertise that will help them to grow and succeed on a global scale, which in turn will drive productivity and job creation.

By enabling UK industry to adopt advanced digital technologies, we are supporting the government ambitions to build a competitive and innovative digital economy that will both turbo drive economic growth and reap societal benefits for the UK, as well as for the UK to be a global AI superpower.

The HNCDI new Lenovo supercomputer in numbers

The ThinkSystem Neptune can perform the same number of calculations as 20,790 top-of-the-range smartphones.

An hour of calculation on a market leading smartphone would take 0.17 seconds.

It can hold 4,500 hours of 4k video in its working memory.

It can hold 60,000 hours of 4k video in its hard disks.

Further information


Lenovo is a $62 billion revenue global technology powerhouse, ranked 217 in the Fortune Global 500, employing 77,000 people around the world and serving millions of customers every day in 180 markets.

Focused on a bold vision to deliver Smarter Technology for All, Lenovo has built on its success as the world’s largest PC company by further expanding into growth areas that fuel the advancement of ‘New IT’ technologies (client, edge, cloud, network and intelligence). These include server, storage, mobile, software, solutions, and services.

This transformation together with Lenovo’s world-changing innovation is building a more inclusive, trustworthy and smarter future for everyone, everywhere.

Lenovo is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange under Lenovo Group Limited (HKSE: 992)(ADR: LNVGY).

Find out more about Lenovo, and read about the latest news via Lenovo’s StoryHub.


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