University of Edinburgh awards Atos supercomputer contract

10 June 2021 3 min. read

Atos has signed a new contract with the University of Edinburgh to deliver a new deep learning supercomputer. The move is part of a £20 million investment by the UK Research and Innovation World Class Laboratories scheme.

International consulting firm Atos is a global leader in digital transformation, and has worked regularly with clients to help them leverage new innovations in order to boost their business outcomes. Recently this has seen the firm win a string of contracts, including one to establish a supercomputing Centre of Excellence in Wales, and another £5 million deal to supply the University of Oxford with the UK’s largest AI supercomputer.

The latest of Atos’ supercomputing partnerships sees Atos head to Scotland, to collaborate with the University of Edinburgh. This will see Atos deliver the BullSequana XH2000 - the most energy-efficient supercomputing system on the market in a state-of-the-art platform to will allow British scientists to drive forward world-leading research in particle physics. The XH2000 model consumes less energy than current systems, as it is 100% water-cooled using Atos’ Direct Liquid Cooling solution, which minimises global energy consumption by using warm water up to 40°C.

University of Edinburgh awards Atos supercomputer contract

Agnès Boudot, Senior Vice President, Head of HPC & Quantum at Atos, said, “Our BullSequana XH2000 supercomputer will use both CPUs and GPUs and has been configured to meet the Extreme Scaling requirements of their scientists. This agreement continues to demonstrate our strategic commitment to design and build powerful and innovative supercomputers.”

The new system will constitute the Extreme Scaling Service of the UK’s DiRAC HPC Facility. DiRAC is a distributed facility with high performance computing resources hosted by the Universities of Edinburgh, Cambridge, Durham and Leicester. These systems support fundamental research in particle physics, astrophysics, nuclear physics and cosmology.

Professor Luigi Del Debbio, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Edinburgh and Project Lead for the DiRAC-3 procurement at Edinburgh, said, “We are delighted that the delivery of this state-of-the-art supercomputing system will allow our scientific community in the fields of particle physics, astronomy, cosmology and nuclear physics to pursue cutting-edge research on a broad range of topics. Atos’ equipment and expertise will bolster our HPC system offering at the upgraded DiRAC-3 facility, strengthening our research activity and supporting the education and training of our students.”

This agreement forms part of a £20 million investment by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) World Class Laboratories scheme, through the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), to fund an upgrade of the DiRAC facility. The investment is delivering new systems which are up to four times more powerful than the existing DiRAC machines, providing computing capacity that can also be used to address immediate and emerging issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Atos is committed to supporting closer collaboration between academia and industry through the power of supercomputing and deep learning. As such, in conjunction with on-going partnership activities, Atos will also help sponsor one student’s PhD, support a Hackathon and deliver a series of best practice training workshops for scientists.