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COSMOS Supercomputing Research Facility will become an Intel Parallel Computing Center

Cambridge’s supercomputer COSMOS, the largest shared memory computer in Europe, has been named by computer giant Intel as one of its parallel computing centers, building on a longstanding collaboration between Intel and the University of Cambridge.

The COSMOS facility, located in the University’s Stephen Hawking Center for Theoretical Cosmology (CTC), is dedicated to research in cosmology, astrophysics, and particle physics. It was turned on in 2012.

To date, the facility has been used to simulate the dynamics of the early universe and for pipelines that analyze the statistics from Planck satellite maps of the cosmic microwave sky. The COSMOS supercomputer was the first very large (over 10 terabyte) single-image shared memory system with Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors, which are behind the most energy-efficient computers in the world.

Intel Parallel Computing Centers (IPCC) are universities, institutions and laboratories that are leaders in their fields. The centers focus on modernizing applications to increase parallelism and scalability through optimizations that take advantage of the cores, caches, threads, and vector functions of microprocessors and coprocessors.

As the IPCC, the COSMOS research facility receives improved Intel support from its application and development teams, as well as early access to future Intel Xeon Phi and other Intel products that are geared towards high-performance computing. IPCC status will allow COSMOS to better focus on delivering computing advances to the scientific community that serves it, as well as highlighting the efforts Intel has made to advance high-performance computing.

At maximum performance, the COSMOS supercomputer can perform 38.6 billion calculations per second (TFLOPS) and is based on SGI UV2000 systems with 1856 cores Intel Xeon processors E5-2600, 14.8 TB RAM and 31 Intel® Xeon PhiTM coprocessors.

The research center has already developed Xeon Phi for the Planck satellite analysis of the cosmic microwave sky and for simulations of the very early universe. These capabilities will become even more important in the near future as new generations of Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors and related technologies emerge.

“I am delighted that the COSMOS Supercomputing Center has been chosen to be among the vanguard of Intel Parallel Computing Centers worldwide,” said Professor Stephen Hawking, founder of the COSMOS Consortium. “These are exciting times for cosmology as we are using COSMOS to test our mathematical theories directly on the latest observational data. Intel’s new technology and this additional support will accelerate our scientific research.”

“Building on the success of COSMOS to date with Intel’s multi-core technology, our new IPCC status will ensure that we remain at the forefront of those using multi-core architectures for cosmological research,” said COSMOS Director Professor Paul Shellard. “With the SGI UV2, which is based on the Intel Xeon processors of the E5-2600 family and the Intel Xeon Phi processors, we have a flexible HPC platform on which we can accelerate the Xeon Phi with the help of distributed, Offload and shared memory programming models can explore code development timescales using MICs, increasing the competitiveness and discovery potential of COSMOS. “

“Intel Parallel Computing Centers are collaborations to modernize important applications in order to increase performance through parallelism and pave the way for the next leap in discovery.

We are excited to work with the COSMOS team in this quest to understand the origins of the universe, “said Stephan Gillich, director of technical computing, Intel EMEA.

COSMOS is part of the Distributed Research Using Advanced Computing (DiRAC) facility funded by the Science & Technology Facilities Council and the Department of Business Innovation and Skills.

Intel flirts with exascale leap in supercomputing Provided by the University of Cambridge

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