The HECToR Service is now closed and has been superceded by ARCHER.

THE HECToR SERVICE WILL CLOSE ON MARCH 21st 2014 AND WILL BE SUPERCEDED BY THE ARCHER SERVICE. Prospective users should refer to the ARCHER Website. These pages are kept for historical reasons only.

HECToR GPGPU Direct Access

EPSRC invites proposals to access a new GPGPU test facility hosted by the University of Edinburgh. It is envisaged that expressions of interest to access the test bed will be primarily for test and development, and exploratory work to trial this relatively new architecture.

Hardware and Software

In order to begin exploring the potential of GPUs EPSRC, with the University of Edinburgh, has invested in a GPU test bed system as subset of the HECToR service. This is a standalone system consisting of four nodes with the following specification:

  • Two nodes contain 4 C2050 GPUs with a third containing a further two additional C2050 GPUs and two higher memory C2070 GPUs. Each of these three nodes also contains a quad core Intel CPU plus 32GB host RAM and will comprise the production side of the test-bed system.
  • A further node has also been included which hosts a single NVIDIA Fermi C2050 GPU plus a single AMD Firestream 9270 GPU. This node also contains a quad core Intel CPU plus 16GB host RAM and is primarily aimed at development and testing.
  • All nodes within the system will be connected via an Infiniband interconnect.

The system is housed in a cabinet infrastructure with an AMD Magny-Cours (12-core, Barcelona) head node, 6 TB of available disk space and share of 10 GE switch off the system.

The basic system software includes:

  • Open CL, CUDA, PGI Accelerator Fortran/C/C++
  • Allinea DDT Debugger
  • Linux based operating system.

The University of Edinburgh will also make reasonable endeavours to make available application codes that have already been ported to CUDA. These currently include the AMBER, DLPOLY, GAMESS, LAMMPS, NAMD and GROMACS codes.

Support and Training

The University of Edinburgh will provide basic hardware support to users of the service and NAG will provide support to enable users to utilise the system and to help users familiarise themselves with GPUs and their programming environments. In addition, NAG will also provide GPU specific training. All successful applicants will be required to attend this training prior to accessing the test bed machine if they cannot demonstrate previous knowledge or expertise. Prior to preparing an application, applicants should contact NAG Ltd via the HECToR Helpdesk to discuss their application, the technical feasibility and training needs.

Who can apply?

Access to the GPGPU testbed is now open to all EPSRC-eligible applicants.

Please note that since applications to the HECToR RAP do not pose the same burden on peer review as full grant applications, they are not considered as part of EPSRC's policy toward repeatedly unsuccessful candidates.

How do I apply?

Applicants should fill in the application form that accompanies the call document, taking into account the assessment criteria in the call document. Applicants should send their completed application form directly to before the call deadline.

If you have any problems filling in the forms, please contact the helpdesk at

Assessment Process

Proposals for access to the GPGPU facility will not be subject to postal peer review. Instead, applications to this call will be reviewed and prioritized by the EPSRC Resource Allocation Panel (RAP). In advance of the meeting, the technical suitability of all applications will be reviewed by NAG. At the panel meeting, the RAP will produce a rank ordered list of proposals in priority order for allocation of time on the GPGPU facility. EPSRC will ultimately decide how many projects are then allowed to proceed with the aim of maximizing exploitation of the system, subject to quality. The University of Edinburgh will then be responsible for scheduling of successful projects on the facility in liaison with the applicants. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of the panel within one week of the meeting.

Call Schedule

Closing Date RAP meeting Deadline for start of access Link

Further Information

For further information about this call, please contact:

Dr Dan Emmerson

Research Infrastructure Programme


Tel: 01793 444112 Email: