Monday 11 Mar 2013 06:00

Region gets access to super computer

Industry and university researchers across the region now have access to one of the UK’s most powerful computers thanks to a new facility backed by eight institutions, including Durham and Newcastle universities.

The new N8 High Performance Computing (N8 HPC) centre provides access to a high performance computing facility for the Universities of Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York – which collectively form the N8 Research Partnership.

According to its creators, the N8HPC will lower the barriers to industry use of high performance computing by offering businesses easy access to the facilities, alongside consultancy and e-infrastructure training.

Based at the University of Leeds and run jointly with the University of Manchester, the £3.25m facility offers high performance computing on a scale which previously has not been readily available to researchers in the North.

The N8 HPC operates Polaris, one of the 250 most powerful computers in the world and which is capable of a peak performance of 110 trillion operations per second – the approximate equivalent to half a million iPads.

The centre, which is funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), will enable academic and private sector researchers to build more realistic models involving large amounts of data and to undertake more complex analyses in many research fields including life sciences, energy, digital media and aerospace.

Professor David Hogg, N8 HPC co-director said: “N8 HPC creates a further opportunity for even greater collaboration between universities and businesses, as well as enabling deeper partnerships between institutions.

“By providing support and expertise to maximise the opportunities that the N8 HPC offers, we aim to make it easier for industry across a wide range of sectors to access high performance computing, enabling existing university-industry collaborations to be further developed and new partnerships to be forged.”

At the launch event, which took place in Manchester, more than 100 representatives from leading UK businesses joined SMEs from across the North of England and delegates from the N8 universities to learn more about what N8 HPC offers industry, and how to access the facilities.