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Press Release

Lenovo signs agreement with STFC Hartree Centre for new UK supercomputer

Wed 27 Mar 2024

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has signed an agreement with Lenovo to install a new supercomputer for the STFC Hartree Centre.

The new supercomputer is ten times more powerful than its Hartree Centre predecessor, Scafell Pike, and will power artificial intelligence (AI) research for the UK industry. 

A 44.7 petaflop system, the Lenovo ThinkSystem Neptune supercomputer will perform more than 44 quadrillion floating point operations per second. The new supercomputer also uses warm water cooling which can reduce energy demands by up to 40% while improving performance by up to 10%.

“Our collaboration is not just about delivering a state-of-the-art supercomputer; it is about building a versatile, robust, and powerful system tailored to meet the Centre’s diverse and evolving needs,” said Noam Rosen, EMEA Director of HPC/AI at Lenovo.

The ultimate goal of the new supercomputer is to reduce the time and cost associated with making research breakthroughs, including for organisations like the Met Office, Unilever and Rolls Royce, that the Hartree Centre has continued to work with over the last decade. 

The new supercomputer is part of the Hartree Centre’s £210 million ($264.8 million) Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation (HNCDI) programme, which aims to provide UK industry access to state-of-the-art digital technologies and expertise and is complementary to investments in the wider AI Research Resource (AIRR).  

It will alsosupport the HNCDI’s expanding supercomputing and AI activities and will be installed later this year at its new £30 million supercomputing centre, currently under construction.  

Powering UK Industry with AI

Located at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, the Hartree Centre is the UK’s only supercomputing centre dedicated to industry engagement. This capability hopes to improve innovation in industry use cases and applications.

Through its HNCDI programme, the centre provides businesses with the necessary skills and technical expertise to embrace emerging digital technologies like supercomputing, quantum computing, and AI. 

“By enabling UK industry to adopt advanced digital technologies, we are supporting the Government’s ambitions to build a competitive and innovative digital economy that will both improve economic growth and provide societal benefits for the UK,” said Mark Thomson, Executive Chair at STFC.

The centre aims to facilitate productivity, innovation, and growth within UK organisations by granting access to these advanced supercomputing technologies, which are traditionally accessible only to academia and large-scale industries.

Director at STFC Hartree Centre, Kate Royse, said the Centre’s mission is to equip the UK industry with the knowledge, skills, and compute needed to utilise the potential of advanced digital technologies.  

“With our new supercomputer we will be able to support the UK industry in the use of big data and AI technologies to enable UK businesses to take a leading role internationally on the responsible adoption and exploitation of AI technology,” said Royse.

Commitment to Solving Global Challenges

At the HNCDI, the new supercomputer will contribute to discovery-led industrial research, focusing on solutions to global challenges in areas including weather and climate modelling; cleaner energy initiatives; drug discovery; health technologies; new materials; automotive advancements; and legal applications.

This includes the Hartree Centre’s continued collaboration with the UK Atomic Energy Authority, which is using the Centre to research new reactors for clean nuclear fusion energy.

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