Atos to Build 4.3 Petaflop Bull Sequana Supercomputer for AWE in the UK

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Today Atos announced that a new Bull Sequana supercomputer will enable high-performance computing solutions to boost next-generation scientific modeling for the UK defense organization.

High performance computing is a critical aspect of AWE, underpinning the vast majority of our science- based program, so we’re continually looking for ways to enhance and support the work conducted,” said Andy Herdman, Head of High Performance Computing at AWE. “Following a successful competitive tendering process, Atos has been chosen as our digital partner to advance our high performance computing capabilities. AWE has had a successful relationship with Atos since 2010. We’re confident that with the purchase and eventual installation of the new Bull Sequana system it will enable us to quickly advance research and development so that we can continue to underwrite the safety and effectiveness of the Trident nuclear warhead in the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty era.”

The new system will feature a single Bull Sequana x1000 supercomputer with a theoretical peak performance of 4.3 Petaflops. The Bull Sequana supercomputer uses the latest generation of direct-liquid cooling to enable the densest and most energy-efficient platform in the industry with the system to be installed using the latest Mellanox EDR interconnect and a high performance Seagate Lustre storage appliance offering around 100 Gigabytes per second of I/O performance.

The UK Ministry of Defence has responsibility for the program and ownership of the AWE which is operated under contract by AWE Management Limited. The establishment has been at the forefront of UK nuclear deterrence for more than 60 years. It supports the UK’s Continuous At Sea Deterrent and plays a key role in national nuclear security.

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty prohibits emission of nuclear yield and therefore AWE must continually develop methods to verify the safety and reliability of nuclear warheads through a science-based and computational program. The new supercomputer will further boost AWE’s sophisticated scientific and technological capabilities.

Through our Bull brand Atos has provided several generations of supercomputers and data intensive systems and we welcome AWE’s choice to install the new Bull Sequana X1000 supercomputer,” said Pierre Barnabé, Chief Operating Officer, Big Data & Security at Atos. “This will provide access to some of the most powerful supercomputing technology available enabling AWE to confidently undertake the complex digital modelling and simulation which will ensure the UK’s continued compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.”

Bull Sequana provides a flexible, modular and adaptable environment that can accommodate future blade systems for Deep Learning, Many Core and ARM based computing. The Bull Sequana has also been designed to accommodate exascale computing.

Following our recent announcement that we will soon deliver a Bull Sequana system to the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Hartree Centre, the AWE system is the second recent large Bull Sequana supercomputer for Atos in the UK which will form a critical part of the national science infrastructure,” added Andy Grant, Head of Big Data and HPC for Atos in the UK.

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