UK's biggest GPU-based supercomputer goes live

The University of Oxford and a consortium of UK academic institutions have deployed the nation’s most powerful GPU-accelerated supercomputer

The University of Oxford and a consortium of UK academic institutions have deployed what is believed to be the nation’s most powerful GPU-accelerated supercomputer.

The supercomputer, which uses 372 Nvidia Tesla M2090 GPUs, will be used for advanced research across a range of scientific and engineering fields. 

The “Emerald” system is an 84-node cluster, which delivers more than 114 teraflops of performance. 

Emerald was developed to enable scientists and engineers from across the UK to accelerate computationally intensive research in areas including astrophysics, bioinformatics, chemistry, engineering, genomics, life sciences, nanotechnology and physics.

“The Emerald supercomputer forms part of the government’s £145m investment in e-infrastructure, and will be an invaluable asset to business and universities,” said David Willetts, minister for universities and science. “It will drive growth and innovation, encourage inward investment in the UK, and keep us at the very leading edge of science.”

The Universities of Oxford, Bristol and Southampton, and University College London, which together form the centre for innovation in high-performance computing (HPC) methods and technologies, will enable the training of HPC scientists and engineers.

“With Nvidia’s support, we can continue to enhance our undergraduate projects and summer bursaries focused on GPU computing, and develop new programmes to reach larger numbers of researchers and students,” said Professor Anne Trefethen, chief information officer at the University of Oxford.  

Last week, Cambridge University announced its commodity supercomputer service.


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