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Research Computing

This is a legacy site - for support of research using High Performance Computing please contact the Research Applications and Collaboration team who can advice on resources most appropriate to your research.

What is High Performance Computing?

High performance computing (HPC) is the use of large numbers of processors, coupled together and run in parallel to solve very large problem sizes.

Is High Performance Computing right for my research?

If the scale of your problem means that your desktop machine simply doesn't have the resources to complete your work then HPC can help. Whether you need dedicated use for a period of time, want to run long running parallel jobs, need large memory or have a highly scalable code that you want to run as quickly as possible, ITS can cater to your needs.

Key features of HPC

HPC facilities are suitable for problems that require:

What HPC facilities are available?

IT Services provide access to a range of HPC resources. From the tightly coupled HPC machine, Horace, to the national and regional grid services, NGS and NW-GRID.

Each of these facilities has a slightly different focus, with different features that may be more suitable for your particular computational problem. We can provide guidance to help you choose the right place to run your code.

In addition to these production services ITS also has a number of experimental services providing access to to new technologies such as Clearspeed, Cell processors and FPGAs.

Example use cases

Some in-depth Case Studies are now available

Bioinformatics: You have a need to analyse large amounts of genomics data. The scale of the work requires long running parallel jobs but also requires careful management of the data and the workflow associated with the analysis. RAC in IT Services can not only provide the facilities for this work, but also the expertise required of a system of this nature.

Text Mining: Your text mining code requires very large amounts of memory and a few cores to process the kind of data that your research focuses on, something your local machine cannot cope with. With the facilities ITS has on hand we can provide a suitable target machine for this work.

Materials Science: You are studying the effects of blood flow in the brain using a lattice Boltzmann code. To do this requires that not only do you need a fast machine to complete your computation but that you need to link with other machines as your problem is of a very large size. To do this requires not only a capable HPC machine but also the ability to connect to other similar machines and steer the application using grid middleware. The advanced reservation, communication and workflow is all handled by this middleware. RAC in IT Services can provide the expertise to use HPC facilities in this manner.

How do I apply?

Please see our application page to find out how easy it is to make use of ITS's HPC facilities. Please contact us if you require any advice regarding choosing a suitable machine for your research problem.

IT Services software interests include new programming paradigms (e.g. UPC, CAF), the development of parallel finite element analysis libraries, numerical linear algebra and datamining on HPC systems. If you have interests in this area we are keen to talk with you about your requirements.

IT Services for Research can also provide expert advice and support to assist access to national HPC facilities such as HPCx and HECToR. Please contact us for more information.