Project period: September 2017 – December 2018
GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Professor James Davenport
University of Bristol: Professor Simon McIntosh-Smith
Cardiff University: Professor Peter Knowles
University of Exeter: Dr David Acreman
GW4 have been awarded £3M of EPSRC capital funding to purchase Isambard, an innovative high-performance computer (HPC) for use by the GW4 universities, the Met Office (where the machine is housed) and the wider UK Community to explore innovative HPC, in particular the use of HPC based on UK-designed ARM processors rather than Intel processors, which power the overwhelming majority of HPCs currently. The EPSRC award funded the capital purchase of Isambard, while the project partners committed a modest level of operating costs to fund electricity costs and staff to support the machine (0.5 FTE for software support and 0.25 FTE for systems administration per GW4 partner).
The aim of this proposal is to fund the development of a GW4 community to leverage the Isambard opportunity, and turn it into a world-class Tier 2 HPC service focused on delivering novel HPC systems. This grant would fund community building activities around the Isambard system, including networking activities, joint proposal writing workshops, and training for staff, both technical and academic. One expected outcome would be a proposal for a GW4 doctoral training programme for the next generation of HPC researchers and research software engineers.