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Reference Number EP/X039137/1
Title The GW4 Isambard Tier-2 service for advanced computer architectures
Status Started
Energy Categories Energy Efficiency (Residential and commercial) 20%;
Not Energy Related 80%;
Research Types Equipment 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Computer Science and Informatics) 100%
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Professor S McIntosh-Smith
No email address given
Computer Science
University of Bristol
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 April 2023
End Date 31 March 2027
Duration 48 months
Total Grant Value £8,508,100
Industrial Sectors R&D
Region South West
Programme Digital Research Infrastructure Isambard 3 Tier 2 System Upgrade
Investigators Principal Investigator Professor S McIntosh-Smith , Computer Science, University of Bristol (99.996%)
  Other Investigator Professor JH Davenport , Computer Science, University of Bath (0.001%)
Professor MF Guest , Chemistry, Cardiff University (0.001%)
Professor AJ Mulholland , Chemistry, University of Bristol (0.001%)
Dr G Tabor , Engineering Computer Science and Maths, University of Exeter (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Arm Holdings (0.000%)
Project Contact , NVIDIA Corporation, USA (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract This proposal is to fund the Isambard 3 Tier-2 national HPC service from the GW4 Alliance universities of Bristol, Bath, Cardiff and Exeter.Isambard 3 will follow on from the successful Isambard 1 & 2 projects, delivering a supercomputer service based on the increasingly important Arm architecture. Isambard 3 will employ NVIDIA's new 'Grace' Arm-based processors, due out in early 2023, to build a fast yet highly energy efficient service. Isambard 3 will be moving into its own dedicated facility, hosted by the University of Bristol. This new facility, homed within a new modular data centre, will for the first time employ direct liquid cooling to the processors, reducing the total amount of energy used for cooling the system, and creating the opportunity to extract and use the waste heat.We expect to procure a system of at least 6 racks, 55,000 cores, which should be large enough to rank in the Top500 list of supercomputers at SC in Nov 2023.Isambard 3 will also continue to provide a Multi Architecture Comparison System, or MACS, which will includes 2-4 nodes of every important new CPU and GPU architecture to be released during the 4 year lifetime of the Isambard 3 service. This will enable scientifically rigorous architectural comparisons between Arm and the latest CPUs and GPUs from Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, and other emerging providers.The Isambard 3 service will feature an expanded support team compared to previous services, including 6 RSEs and 2 systems administrators on the technical support side, as well as 0.5 FTE of project manager, and a business development manager on the user community engagement and development side. In summary, the successful Isambard Arm-based Tier-2 service will be expanding to support a much wider user community across all of UKRI, with the first Arm-based server CPUs optimised specifically for HPC from a top-tier silicon vendor. It will be one of the first such systems anywhere in the world, and deliver one of the most energy efficient, low carbon, general purpose CPU services available. The Grace processors should be amongst the fastest available for Isambard's user community, which we expect to expand into weather and climate applications, as well as life sciences and beyond
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Final Report (none)
Added to Database 05/04/23