Science and Technology Facilities Council
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UK industry and research to benefit from new energy efficient Supercomputer

The high performance computing needs of the UK’s research and development teams in both industry and academia have received a tremendous boost with the launch of the latest energy efficient supercomputer, ARM64, at the UK’s Hartree Centre.

The so-called Asian Cat supercomputer has been developed by a collaboration between Lenovo, Cavium and Mellanox with the aim of being a computationally powerful and energy efficient platform based around the ARM v8 microprocessor.

Providing a platform for research and collaboration with both academia and industry into the energy efficiency and performance of new hardware platforms the new system, which comprises 24 nodes (2304 cores), is a primary resource in supporting the activities of the Hartree Centre Energy Efficient Computing (EEC) research programme.

The Hartree Centre is part of the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council and this work is a fundamental part of it’s research programme to maximise the energy efficiency of computing architectures through an integrated co-design approach that considers hardware and software and is part of our contribution to help develop the next generation of exascale supercomputers.

Dr Robin Pinning, Chief Technology Officer at the Hartree Centre, believes that the new supercomputer will bring substantial benefits to the many organisations working with the Hartree team “The Hartree Centre prides itself on working at the leading edge of the adoption of emerging technologies to further our Energy Efficient Research Computing Programme. Our latest ARM64-based ‘Asian Cat’ machine is a perfect example of how we are achieving this by working closely with key technology partners Lenovo, Cavium, Mellanox and OCF.”

Dr Pinning went on to say that “The machine is allowing us to push forward our programme of R&D, working closely with UK industrial and research HPC communities. The collaboration will lead to the development of tools, applications and, ultimately, the co-design of future generations of energy efficient supercomputing hardware.”

The wider work of the EEC group at the Hartree Centre and the Asian Cat supercomputer will be discussed at a number of events at the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis taking place at SC 2016 (Salt Lake Palace Convention Centre) November 13-18th.

Media Contacts

Lucy Stone
STFC Communications Team

Notes to Editors

The Asian Cat project developed a prototype ARM64 based server based upon the Cavium Thunder X CPU and the Lenovo NextScale Form factor. As we move towards exascale level systems, one thousand times faster than current systems, one of the primary challenges is to provide the power required to run these machines. Current architectures do not scale efficiently with regard to power consumption, with current estimates being in the region of 20MW to power a system at the exascale level.

The Hartree Centre is leading a programme of research to benchmark and evaluate the performance and energy profile of this ARM prototype. Additionally we are working with Mellanox to evaluate the wider ARM community to support the development of the software ecosystem that is essential to supporting HPC and Big Data workloads and workflows on the ARM platform.


View the SC16 website.

STFC’s Hartree Centre

Part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, and located at Sci-Tech Daresbury in Cheshire, the Hartree Centre accelerates the application of high performance computing, data science, big data analytics and cognitive techniques into industry.

Backed by over £170M funding from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, and with a strategic collaboration with IBM to boost big data research in the UK, the Hartree Centre is helping businesses and research partners to use these tools to solve research challenges, and gain insights, value and competitive advantage for the UK.

In partnerships, the Hartree Centre is also developing the next generation of supercomputing architectures and software, combining existing best practice with innovation to deliver faster, more energy sustainable solutions capable of meeting the challenges of data intensive computing.


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