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Grace: UCL’s High Performance Computing (HPC) system re-enters service

21 September 2016

Grace

UCL’s High Performance Computing (HPC) system, Grace, re-entered service on 30 August after successfully concluding a project to double service capacity. 

Grace now consists of 684 compute nodes with 10,944 processor cores and over 1 Petabyte of directly attached high performance storage with a peak performance of 420 Teraflops, making it the largest and fastest HPC system in the UK University sector and ranked at 400 in the “Supercomputing Top 500” list of the fastest HPC systems in the world. Smart design by the project team has meant that the enlarged system can be scaled to meet future demand without the need for major redesign and disruption to research.

“The extension of the Grace system delivers valuable new capability to our world-leading computational science community, enabling them to tackle new problems, and accelerate existing projects. High Performance Computing is an increasingly important tool across all disciplines and it is fitting that UCL researchers should benefit from ready access to a leading UK system such as Grace” comments Professor David Price, Vice Provost (Research). "The UCL Research IT Services team are to be congratulated on their delivery of this project, on time and on budget”.

Dr Owain Kenway, Research Computing Applications Team Leader explains: "By providing access to a large number of cores and a ubiquitous, fast Infiniband interconnect , this upgrade allows large parallel computing workloads across from the very small, such as molecular modelling, to  the very large, such as astronomy to be run locally at UCL.  Combined with a low barrier of access in terms of both account application process and our common software stack allows researchers to scale up work from our smaller scale systems to the new machine without dramatically changing their software or the way they run their simulations, and without having to apply for access to a highly contended national resource."

Further information about Grace, including the reason for choosing the system name, you can visit the launch event website or the Research Computing home page.

To complement Grace, the Research Computing team are now planning a full refresh of UCL’s other central HPC system, Legion, to meet new requirements in data-intensive computing.  To follow progress of this and other key developments in Research IT Services you can subscribe to the Termly Newsletter.

Information Services Division