ALICE at U of Leicester Billed as Green Machine

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The University of Leicester has deployed a new supercomputing system, deemed ALICE, that is being billed as a performance and green upgrade from previous systems.  The new system and facility cost an estimated £2.2 million in order to make it an efficient operational environment.

Mary Visser, Director of IT services at the university, said: “It’s fascinating to see how researchers work these days — looking for patterns in huge datasets and simulating complex phenomena. Usually, you need to be a real techie to engage with this kind of work. But, we have social scientists and economists with big problems to solve who didn’t sign up to be computer programmers. Our team aims to help make the facility accessible for them, too.

She added: “The amount of data produced is going up by around 50 percent a year, so we need to get much cleverer about how we manage it, make it searchable, and decide what to keep for the next generation. That is a massive challenge for the whole sector — one that calls for new kinds of support and training for researchers at every stage of their careers.”

Leicester estimates that the new system will save an estimated £130,000 and reduce CO2 emissions by 800 tons compared with systems based on older technologies.

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