GW4 SOFTWARE-INTENSIVE RESEARCH

ACCELERATOR FUND 

Project period: September 2017 – December 2018 

This community previously received Initiator Funding for the project: GW4 Coding

GW4 community leads 

University of Bath: James Davenport (PI) 
University of Bristol: Simon McIntosh-Smith 
Cardiff University: Peter Knowles 
University of Exeter: David Acreman 

Project overview

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. 

Website: gw4-isambard.github.io

Background 

In 2017, GW4 were 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). 

Project summary 

The Accelerator Award was used 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 funded community building activities around the Isambard system, including networking activities, joint proposal writing workshops, and training for staff, both technical and academic.  

In 2020, EPSRC awarded the GW4 Alliance together with the Met Office, Hewlett Packard Enterprises and partners a further £4.1 million to create Isambard 2, the largest Arm-based supercomputer in Europe (https://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2020/february/gw4isambard-.html).

Community site (GW4 Portal)