EPCC was established during 1990 as a focus for the University of Edinburgh's work in high performance computing during the previous decade. Its task is to accelerate the effective exploitation of high performance parallel computing systems throughout academia, industry and commerce. Throughout its lifetime, it has supported academic work through the national services and has been at the front of technical innovations in advanced computing. It has always coupled this with a close integration with industry and commerce, and many of its seventy staff work in these areas.
The national Cray T3D service started in 1994, and was supplemented by a T3E in 1996. It ran until 2002; at its peak it delivered 309 Gflops for around 50 projects funded by EPSRC, NERC and PPARC.
HPCx started work in 2002, and is scheduled to close in December, 2008. EPCC, together with CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory, have provided this service, which is accommodated in Daresbury. Currently there are more 50 projects on the 12 Tflops Phase 3 system, which is a cluster of IBM eServer 575 frames producing more than 12 Tflops sustained.
Advanced Computer Facility
The Advanced Computer Facility (ACF) is a strategic facility of the University of Edinburgh, designed to house large-scale computers in a secure, purpose built environment. It already houses a number of such systems, including EPCC's Blue Gene system and QCDOC.
The ACF is located in the outskirts of Edinburgh. It was opened in September, 2006. Work to enhance the infrastructure to support HECToR started in February, 2007.
EPCC's role in HECToR
EPCC bases its work for HECToR on the long experience of its staff in high-end computing service provision. Its tasks include:
- managing and maintaining the ACF building and infrastructure;
- administering the system and managing its software;
- handling system problems, in cooperation with Cray;
- providing a helpdesk;
- designing, coordinating and editing the website, including the documentation;
- administering the service, projects and users and producing periodic reports.
The Director of EPCC, Prof Arthur Trew, is the Director of HECToR.