University College London (UCL) has announced their new 40TF Dell cluster (Times Online and UCL press release). The announcement has some nice statistics – £3.85M (nearly $8M), 21 tonnes of supercomputer, 2560 processors, 7km of cabling, and a less common statistic – 19,000 litres per second of cool air. The machine was officially unveiled by Michael Dell, CEO of Dell in London today. The service will be managed by the Research Computing coordination team at UCL.
Professor David Price, chair of the UCL Research Computing Sub-Committee said “High-end supercomputing used to be the preserve of an elite few in the academic world, but not anymore.” Research Computing facilities (especially High Performance Computing), are increasingly underpinning academic research programmes at a strategic level and are key to an institution’s research capability. Professor Price has previously said in conversation that credible HPC resources are like a university library – they are expected to be part of any major research-led university, and indeed UCL is the fourth-ranked UK university in the 2006 (and 2007) league table of the top 500 world universities produced by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The other top UK universities (Cambridge, Oxford, and ICL) also have large supercomputing investments.