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Cambridge U Deploys U.K.’s Fastest Academic-Based Supercomputer

 Campus Technology (12/11/13) Leila Meyer

The University of Cambridge now has the fastest academic supercomputer in the United Kingdom.  Cambridge has deployed the supercomputer as part of the computing system development in the Square Kilometer Array Open Architecture Lab, which is building the world’s largest radio telescope.  The university partnered with Dell, NVIDIA, and Mellanox to build the system, named Wilkes.  The supercomputer consists of 128 Dell T620 servers and 256 NVIDIA K20 graphical processing units connected by 256 Mellanox Connect IB cards.  Wilkes has a computational performance of 240 teraflops and ranked 166th on the November 2013 Top500 list of supercomputers.  The system also has a performance of 3,631 megaflops per watt and ranked second in the November 2013 Green500 list.  Wilkes uses Mellanox’s FDR InfiniBand solution as the interconnect, and uses NVIDIA RDMA communication acceleration to significantly increase its parallel efficiency.  The supercomputer will “enable fundamental advances in many areas of astrophysics and cosmology,” says Mellanox’s Gilad Shainer.

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