STFC Daresbury Laboratory first to install Maximum Performance Computer (MPC)

World’s most efficient supercomputer at STFC Daresbury Laboratory will drive innovation and worldwide competitiveness of UK science and industry.

Scientific advancement is increasingly driven by the available compute power while the world’s largest supercomputers are limited by their power consumption.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and London-based Maxeler Technologies are collaborating in a project funded by the UK Department of Business Innovation and Skills to install the next generation of supercomputing technology in a new facility at the Daresbury Laboratory focusing on energy efficient supercomputing and offering orders of magnitude improvement in performance and efficiency to enable UK industry to have the edge in using a technology designed for the move towards Exascale computing.

The dataflow supercomputer will feature Maxeler developed MPC-X nodes capable of an equivalent 8.52TFLOPs per 1U and 8.97 GFLOPs/Watt, a performance per Watt that tops the Green500 today. MPC-X nodes build on the previous generation technology from Maxeler deployed at JP Morgan where real-time risk computation equivalent to 12000 x86 cores was achieved in 40U of dataflow engines (see original news story here).

STFC Technology Division Head, Dr Peter Oliver said “The use of this technology builds on the expertise of STFC’s Scientific Computing Department  and allows us to develop energy efficient High Performance Computing applications meeting the needs of our academic and industrial collaborators.”

The new MPC-X supercomputer will be available in Summer 2014 and will allow UK industry and academia to develop products and services based on MPC data analytics engines for applications domains such as medical imaging and healthcare data analytics, manufacturing, industrial microscopy, large scale simulations, security, real-time operations risk, and media/entertainment.

Prof Michael J Flynn, Chairman of Maxeler Technologies and Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University said: “Multiscale Dataflow Computing came out of early research funded by the US government and it is exciting to see a first deployment in a national laboratory in the UK. Combined with our collective efforts as part of the OpenSPL consortium, we at Maxeler are excited to see spatial computing at the forefront of next generation computing technology.”

Predictive simulations and analytics are hard and require significant expertise. STFC Applications Performance Engineering Group Leader, Dr Mike Ashworth said: “Ever more accurate prediction capabilities based on advanced data analytics will help the UK to be more aware, and consequently more prepared for the future.”

We live in an Era of Convergence of scientific and commercial computing. Power consumption determines the life of your battery and so makes novel energy efficient applications a necessity in healthcare, entertainment, management of natural resources, and finance.

It is expected that advanced real-time capabilities derived from the dataflow supercomputer will in time help to reduce healthcare expenditure, increase efficiency of manufacturing processes, help with the exploration and management of natural resources and drive the next generation of digital entertainment such as the new 4K video standard.

“Maxeler Technologies is excited and proud to have the opportunity to collaborate in the STFC outreach to industry, ensuring the world-leading position of the UK as a world center of innovation and technological leadership,” said Oskar Mencer, CEO of Maxeler Technologies and Member of Academic Staff at Imperial College London.


About the Scientific Computing Department at STFC

The Scientific Computing Department (SCD) provides the computing, data storage and networking infrastructure required by today’s advanced science facilities to support the complete scientific lifecycle, from background research, through simulation and experimental design, data collection and analysis to publication.

The department includes world leading experts in a number of scientific fields including computational chemistry, computational engineering, materials science, band theory, computational biology, advanced research computing, atomic and molecular physics, numerical analysis, software engineering, data services, petascale storage, scientific information and scientific computing technology.

About STFC

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is keeping the UK at the forefront of international science and tackling some of the most significant challenges facing society such as meeting our future energy needs, monitoring and understanding climate change, and global security.

The STFC has a broad science portfolio and works with the academic and industrial communities to share its expertise in materials science, space and ground-based astronomy technologies, laser science, microelectronics, wafer scale manufacturing, particle and nuclear physics, alternative energy production, radio communications and radar.

STFC operates or hosts world class experimental facilities including:
• in the UK; ISIS pulsed neutron source, the Central Laser Facility, and LOFAR.  STFC is also the majority shareholder in Diamond Light Source Ltd.
• overseas; telescopes on La Palma and Hawaii

It enables UK researchers to access leading international science facilities by funding membership of international bodies including European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), the Institut Laue Langevin (ILL), European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

STFC is one of seven publicly-funded research councils.  It is an independent, non-departmental public body of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

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About Maxeler Technologies

Maxeler Technologies, in the heart of London, provides Multiscale Dataflow Computing Platforms for Data Analytics, Imaging, and Transaction Processing for Oil&Gas, Finance, Science, Security, and Media markets. Maxeler production systems have been powering investment banks, exchanges, Oil exploration, and over 100 university research centers around the world.

Multiscale Dataflow Computing combines maximal compute performance and minimal power consumption to drive mission critical computing and competitive advantage for the end user. For the deployment of multiscale dataflow computing, Maxeler’s installation for credit derivatives received the American Finance Technology Award for ‘Most Innovative IT Initiative’ in 2011 and the Frost&Sullivan European Technology Innovation of the Year Award for Multiscale Dataflow Computing.

Follow us on Twitter @MaxelerTech