Edinburgh named for UK exascale supercomputer

Edinburgh named for UK exascale supercomputer

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Edinburgh is to host the UK’s exascale supercomputer, expected to be called ARCHER3 

The announcement of an exascale supercomputer facility at the University of Edinburgh comes after Bristol is to host an AI supercomputer, Isambard AI.

The current ARCHER2 is an HPE Cray EX supercomputing system with an estimated peak performance of 28 petaFLOPS. The machine has 5,860 compute nodes, each with dual AMD EPYC 7742 64-core processors at 2.25GHz, giving 750,080 cores in total. It started operation in November 2021 to replace the original Cray Archer system.

The new exascale computer will will be 50 times the performance of the current ARCHER2 system, also based in Edinburgh, which implies a performance of 1.3exaFLOPS. The implementation timescales have not been announced, nor whether this will be an upgrade or a replacement system.  However 1.3exaFLOPS will leave the UK under resourced if the project takes the typical two years to complete as 1 exaFLOP systems are already up and running and 20 and 50 exaFLOP systems are planned for 2024 and 2025.

“This new UK government funded exascale computer in Edinburgh will provide British researchers with an ultra-fast, versatile resource to support pioneering work into AI safety, life-saving drugs, and clean low-carbon energy. It is part of our £900 million investment in uplifting the UK’s computing capacity, helping us forge a stronger Union, drive economic growth, create the high-skilled jobs of the future and unlock bold new discoveries that improve people’s lives,” said Michelle Donelan, UK secretary of state for Science, Innovation and Technology.

Plans for both the exascale compute and the AIRR were first announced in March, as part of a £900 million investment to upgrade the UK’s next-generation compute capacity, and will deliver on two of the recommendations set out in the independent review into the Future of Compute.


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