Advancing our Science with the UK’s Next Supercomputer

After an extensive procurement exercise developing both the scientific and business case, the UK will be getting a new supercomputer and it is anticipated that it will be fully operational in May 2020.

This will replace the UK’s current national facility, ARCHER, which has been in service since 2013 having entered the November 2013 TOP500 list ranked number 19. When it was first introduced, ARCHER had 76,192 cores and a peak performance of ~1.65 Pflop/s (i.e. 1,650,000,000,000,000 floating point operations per second) based on a Cray XC30, Intel Xeon E5 v2 12C 2.700GHz CPU, with an Aries interconnect.

As the MNF group are researchers involved in theoretical and computational activities, we rely heavily on the use of both local clusters and the national facility and we will be looking to take full advantage of the new hardware once it has been deployed. The new machine, referred to as ARCHER 2, will again be a Cray but will host 5,848 compute nodes, each with dual AMD Rome 64 core CPUs at 2.2GHz, for 748,544 cores in total.

The exact performance of the new machine is not yet known but it is anticipated that it will have a peak performance of ~28 Pflop/s. In contrast to the current exascale trend, where accelerators like the nVidea Volta G100 GPU are used by the Summit supercomputer, ARCHER 2 will be a standard CPU-only facility. We would not therefore expect any significant porting issues for our codes but making efficient use of the dual 64-core CPUs has yet to be tested.