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OCF HPC machine at University of Southampton enters TOP500

We’re proud to say that one of our recent installations, the new HPC machine at the University of Southampton (named Iridis 5) has entered the TOP500, positioned at 251 on the list.

Iridis 5 was designed, integrated and configured by OCF, in collaboration with Lenovo, Bright Computing and NVIDIA.  The HPC system supports research requiring traditional HPC as well as projects needing large scale deep storage, big data analytics, web platforms for bioinformatics, and AI services.

The University of Southampton has seen a 425 per cent increase in the number of research projects using HPC services, over the past decade. Throughout OCF’s 13-year relationship with the University of Southampton, we’ve seen its determination and ambition to compete not just nationally, but internationally and, critically, provide the HPC, cloud and data analytics services that world-class researchers’ desire.

The new HPC system is also supporting the University’s Wolfson Unit. Best known for ship model testing, sailing yacht performance and ship design software, the unit was founded in 1967 to enable industry to benefit from the facilities, academic excellence and research activities at the University of Southampton.

A staggering four times more powerful than the University’s previous HPC system, Iridis 5 has more than 20,000 Intel Skylake cores on a next generation Lenovo ThinkSystem SD530 server – the first ever UK installation of the hardware.

Iridis 5 is using 10x Gigabyte servers in total containing 40x NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti GPUs for projects requiring high single precision performance, as well as 20x Volta GPUs.

Oz Parchment, Director of iSolutions, at the University of Southampton told us, “The University of Southampton has a long tradition in the use of computational techniques to generate new knowledge and insight, stretching back to 1959 when our researchers first used modelling techniques on the design of Sydney Opera House. Data and analysis of that data, using computational methods is at the heart of modern science and technology and, in order to attract the best world-class researchers we need world-class research facilities.

We’ve been working with OCF since 2004.  They listen and understand our needs, putting forward ideas that we haven’t even thought about. The team are all technical innovators.”

OCF’s xCAT-based software is used to manage the main HPC resources, with Bright Computing’s Advanced Linux Cluster Management software chosen to provide the research cloud and data analytics portions of the system.

If you’d like to hear more about Iridis 5 and our work at the University of Southampton, please get in touch with us here.


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