On March 25, the UK’s newest, fastest supercomputer was unveiled. “ARCHER” is approximately 3.5 times faster than HECToR, the installation that it replaced, and now rules the roost in the UK. ARCHER will help researchers carry out sophisticated, complex calculations in diverse areas such as simulating the Earth’s climate, calculating the airflow around aircraft, and designing novel materials.
The system brings together the UK’s most powerful computer with one of its largest data centres. Creating a facility to support Big Data applications. The building housing the ARCHER system is among the greenest computer centres in the world, with cooling costs of only 8% of the cost of the total power requirements. ARCHER is a Cray installation based on XC30 hardware and utilises Intel’s Xeon E5-2600v2 processor series.
Meanwhile, on March 21, ETH Zürich and the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre announced an upgraded (12 to 28 cabinet) machine “Piz Daint”, which is now the biggest and baddest in Europe. With a hybrid expansion utilising GPUs, Piz Daint broke the petaflop barrier which was targeted in October, and has a theoretical peak performance of 7.8 petaflops. Pumping out a cool 3.2 gigaflops per watt, the combination of GPUs and CPUs also makes Piz Daint one of the world’s most energy-efficient supercomputers in the petaflop performance class.
Although Piz’ has been around for a while, the announcement was officially proclaiming it’s clearance for research. The installation is named after a mountain in the Swiss Ortler Alps.