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Universities deliver HPC for business via the cloud

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The University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge and Imperial College are pooling their resources to create ahigh-performance computing service that will offer some of the UK's fastest computerresources to industry through the cloud.

The service, dubbed CORE, will give businessesaccess to some of the most powerful IT systems in the UK, including the largest Intelhigh-performance cluster, the UK's largest single shared memory pool, and one of the UK's largesthigh-performance graphicschip clusters.

It will offer businesses a range of consulting packages to help them get the most fromhigh-performance computing. Options range from handholding for small companies, to advice tobusinesses that want to buy their own supercomputer.

CORE will pool the supercomputer resources of both universities to offer 22,000 Intel processorcores, and three petabytes ofmemory, to deliver 300 teraflops of computingpower.

The computing resources at CORE have been used

The computing resources at CORE have been used by companies including Rolls-Roycefor turbine design and the Caterham F1 team for designing racing cars.

Audio Analytic, a Cambridge startup, plans to use the CORE computing resources to analysesounds, just as gun shots and breaking glass, to develop automatic recognition research for thesecurity industry.

The combined service will help the universities address a serious shortage of IT professionalswith skills in high-performance computing, allowing the universities to share specialists betweenthem.

CORE will be ready to offer businesses services from day one, he said, and unlike manyuniversity services, it has a strong customer service ethos.

Businesses will be able to run their own software, with support from CORE specialists, or runready-made packages in engineering, life sciences, materials modelling and digital media.

The facility through the internet

Companies can either send data to the facility through the internet, or by courier if largevolumes of data are involved, said Cajella.

For example, in a project to model racing car design, Caterham F1 opted to send data toCambridge in one hour by courier, to put it more exactly than spending seven hours uploading it via theinternet.

CORE will offer facilities on site to allow clients to analyse data and visualisation servicesthat will allow the results to be sent over the internet in graphical form.

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More information: Computerweekly