Location of Ireland’s latest €5.4m supercomputer confirmed by ICHEC

15 May 2018817 Views

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The Irish Centre for High-End Computing has confirmed it is to put its multimillion-euro supercomputer at TSSG in Waterford.

From astronomy to climate change, supercomputers are now a vitally important tool used to churn through enormous amounts of data to quickly produce scientifically important research data.

Now, TSSG in Waterford has been chosen as the home of Ireland’s latest supercomputer to replace the existing Fionn supercomputer, which has been running for the past five years.

With funding of €5.4m from Science Foundation Ireland, the supercomputer will be managed and operated by the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC) and will be available to all Irish-based researchers.

First revealed in February of this year, NUI Galway will play an important part as the host of Ireland’s National High-Performance Computing Service and research infrastructure that will develop technologies including artificial intelligence, machine learning and earth observation within Irish academia and industry.

The new system provided by Intel comprises a cluster of 336 high-performance servers with 13,440 CPU cores and 64TB of memory for general-purpose computations.

Additional components aimed at more specialised requirements include six large memory nodes with 1.5TB of memory per server, plus 32 accelerator nodes divided between Intel Xeon Phi and Nvidia P100 GPUs.

Power-hungry

While the new supercomputer does provide up to five times the computing power of its predecessor, it is worth noting that it is very power-hungry, with expectations that it will consume 50pc more energy than before.

To be installed later this summer, the supercomputer has yet to be named. A naming competition was announced earlier this year, with three historic Irish women scientists among the names shortlisted.

Speaking of the news, Prof Lokesh Joshi, vice-president for research at NUI Galway, said: “Since its inception, NUI Galway has hosted ICHEC and supported its development as an enabling technology, critical to Ireland’s competitiveness. The new national supercomputer will allow even more opportunity for innovation and impact across a myriad of sectors in Ireland’s economy and society.”

Updated, 11.28am, 15 May 2018: This article was amended to correct mistaken references to NUI Galway as the supercomputer’s location, and clarify that it will be based at TSSG.

Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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