IBM launches Computing Power Acceleration Centre

12 November 2015

IBM, in collaboration with NVIDIA, Mellanox and the STFC Hartree Centre, has launched the POWER Acceleration and Design Centre at the Hartree Centre in Daresbury. The new centre will provide research and development into reducing the energy requirements of POWER based architecture, as well as research and consulting expertise in POWER systems.

The Hartree Centre at Daresbury was formed in 2012 and is situated at the Daresbury Laboratory. The centre was formed by the UK Government in collaboration with IBM and had initial government funding of £37.5 million. The centre was set up initially to provide industry and academia with access to high performing supercomputing technologies to make advances in the fields of analytics and Big Data, as well as expertise and training to boost UK economic growth. The success of the initial investment saw the UK Government in 2014 allocate a further £113 million for the centre over five years to fund Big Data analytics, modelling & simulation and development in cognitive computing for UK economic growth.

Hartree Centre at Daresbury

Every increasing demand for computing power has seen businesses and scientific institutions exploit computing technologies in a race towards exascale computing*. Considerable challenges are faced however, as the increased energy consumption withholds sustainable development. One contender for exascale computing is the POWER Architecture, which is a set of microprocessors developed and manufactured by such companies as IBM, Freescale, AppliedMicro, LSI, e2v and Synopsys.

POWER Acceleration and Design Centre
In a bid to provide a solution to companies seeking high performance, IBM together with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Hartree Centre, NVIDIA and Mellanox, launched the POWER Acceleration and Design Centre at the Hartree Centre in Daresbury. The new centre will provide POWER Architecture clients with POWER-based infrastructure and consulting, and brings together computational scientists and engineers that are experts in a wide range of fields, including chemistry, fluid dynamics, structures, and acoustics. The centre will be focused on fully exploiting every component of the POWER-based system: architecture, memory, storage, interconnects and integration.

“This new POWER Acceleration and Design Centre demonstrates IBM’s commitment to expanding the software ecosystem around OpenPOWER,” explains Dave Turek, IBM’s Vice-President of High Performance Computing. The centre further extends and complements the Acceleration and Design Centres in Jülich (Germany) and Montpellier (France) to create a new class of industrial and commercial organisations. Turek adds that “to that end, establishing it at the Hartree Centre is in recognition of its successful engagement with industry and its record in commercialising technological developments.”

IBM launches Computing Power Acceleration Centre

Dr Peter Allan, acting Director of the Hartree Centre, adds: “The POWER Acceleration and Design Centre will help industry and academia take advantage of IBM and NVIDIA’s technological leadership in supercomputing and the Hartree Centre's expertise and experience in delivering solutions to real-world problems. It will also provide industry and academia with access to the Hartree Centre’s research capabilities and network of global partners. The PADC will help the Government’s ambition to provide world-leading facilities to enable UK businesses use modelling & simulation and Big Data analytics to develop better products and services that will boost productivity, drive growth and create jobs.”

* Exascale computing refers to computing systems that are capable of at least a billion billion calculations per second.


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