Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


University of Southampton switches on one of the most powerful supercomputers in the UK

The University of Southampton has flicked the on-switch for the most powerful university-based supercomputer in England and the third largest academic supercomputing facility in the UK. ‘Iridis4’ will also enter the top ten of the UK’s elite supercomputers.1

Dr Oz Parchment, Director of Research Computing at the University, comments: “Southampton is a leader in High Performance Computing (HPC) and Iridis4 allows us to take another leap forward to keep pace with the needs of our world-class researchers.

“There is an ever increasing demand for the use of supercomputing power for research and this new machine will provide the opportunity for even more academics to work on a greater number of projects, at faster speeds.”

In a deal worth £3.2 million, Southampton’s new supercomputer is powered by IBM® Intelligent Cluster solutions and designed, integrated and supported by HPC, data management, storage and analytics company OCF Plc. It is four times more powerful than its predecessor Iridis3 and has 12, 200 Intel® Xeon® E5-2670 processor cores, a petabyte (or one-million gigabytes) of disc space, with 50 terabytes of memory.

The new machine is one of very few in the UK to include to Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors, which can take control of some of the most demanding mathematical calculations to significantly increase its processing power. The Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors are each capable of running at one teraflop, (one trillion calculations per second).

Iridis4 will mainly be used for research by University staff and students across a wide variety of disciplines, from Engineering to Archaeology – Medicine to Computer Science. 2 It is estimated around 350 projects are likely to run on the machine in the first year.

University of Southampton Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Philip Nelson says, “Staying ahead of the game in High Performance Computing is vital to help the University stay competitive. Simulation and computation enabled by HPC are recognised globally as the ‘third pillar’ of modern research and this investment will ensure we remain world leaders in this field.”

Steve Legg, IBM's University Programs Manager in the UK, says: “The University of Southampton occupies an enviable place in the ranks of leading research-led universities across the world and the Iridis supercomputing facility is just one example of a long-term partnership with IBM across many areas of collaboration.

“The growth of Big Data and the availability of computing power like Iridis4 means that the range of research areas that are enabled by supercomputing continues to grow. We look forward to seeing its impact on the University's research, already recognised for the range and importance of the science conducted on the supercomputer's predecessor, Iridis3.”

The University of Southampton’s Iridis3, will remain in operation, providing an important resource for industrial research through the e-Infrastructure South Consortium. This group of research intensive universities; Southampton, Bristol, Oxford and University College London, operate a ‘Centre of Innovation for the Application of High Performance Computing’– set up in 2012 with £3.7 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to upgrade Iridis3 and install resources at Rutherford Appleton Laboratories near Oxford.

Research case studies using Iridis
Aerofoil noise and turbulence - Professor Richard Sandberg is using high-performance computing to investigate sources of noise caused by aerofoils, such as in fan blades in aircraft engines, flaps on air frames and wind turbines. Typically, noise created at the trailing edge of an aerofoil has been measured by researchers with microphones, without providing much physical insight into the noise generation process itself. In this project, complex computer simulations are used to explore in detail the air flow over the blade as aerodynamic noise is generated by turbulence, the unsteady movement or flow of air. It aims to identify how noise is created and examine noise reduction measures. Accurately predicting turbulence is extremely difficult and requires enormous computational resource, such as is provided by the new Iridis4 supercomputer.

Coronary Artery Stent Design - As part of a long term collaboration between Professors Neil Bressloff (in Engineering) and Nick Curzen (in Medicine), PhD student Georgios Ragkousis is taking advantage of supercomputing power at the University of Southampton to conduct research, which will aid the design of new systems to deploy stents in patients with coronary artery disease. Stents are cylindrical mesh devices which keep open the walls of arteries, which have thickened due to the build-up of plaque (fatty deposits, cholesterol, calcium etc). This thickening effect reduces blood flow and the supply of oxygen to a patient’s heart – leading to health problems. Doctors are able to implant a stent by guiding a catheter through the blood vessels of a patient and then inflating a tiny balloon inside the artery to re-open its walls. Occasionally the stent doesn’t align properly to the artery wall (stent malapposition) and this can lead to complications. The team is using High Performance Computing to simulate the application of stents and assess the problem of stent malapposition with the aim of devising a new delivery system that can mitigate the problem.

Technology in use
a. IBM iDataPlex dx360 M4 nodes each with 2x Intel® Xeon® E5-2670 processors
b. IBM iDataPlex dx360 M4 nodes with dual Intel® Xeon® E5-2670 processors and dual Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors
c. IBM System x3750 M4 (32 cores total) nodes featuring 256GB of Memory
d. Mellanox FDR-10 InfiniBand configured in a 'Fat-Tree' Core-Leaf topology
e. IBM GPFS Storage Server (Approx 1004TB raw)

Gavin Loader |
Further information:

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

New method increases energy density in lithium batteries

24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>