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University of Southampton invests £3 million for supercomputer

3 August, 2009  

Research at the University of Southampton is getting a multi-million pound boost with the purchase of a new supercomputer, which will be used to make highly complex computations in fields such as cancer research.

The new supercomputer, containing more than 8000 processors, built using IBM iDataPlex server technology and capable of over 74 trillion calculations per second, will be used by leading-edge researchers across the University. It will be the first such system in a UK university and one of the 100 most powerful supercomputers in the world (based on the June 2009 Top 500 list at
“The University of Southampton is one of the UK’s leading research universities and one of the top 100 in the world. To ensure that we remain at the leading-edge of research, we must invest in the best facilities for our research staff,” said the University’s deputy vice-chancellor, professor Philip Nelson.
“This significant investment will ensure that our researchers have computing facilities to rival the best in the world.”
The computer, which was custom-designed and will be built, rapidly implemented and configured for the University by UK high-performance computer and storage integrator OCF plc, has a capability equivalent to around 4,000 standard office computers, running simultaneously.
It will greatly assist the University’s medical researchers. Geneticist professor Andrew Collins said: “We need extremely high levels of computing power in our work mapping the disease genes implicated in breast cancer, IBD and glaucoma. With the volume of genome data increasing hugely each year, its analysis requires the most highly-sophisticated facilities.”

The University and OCF signed their contract on July 11 2009. IBM will receive £1.8m from its sale into OCF.