UKRI Awards ARCHER2 Supercomputer Services Contract

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UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has awarded contracts to run elements of the next national supercomputer, ARCHER2, which will represent a significant step forward in capability for the UK’s science community. ARCHER2 is the UK National Supercomputing Service, a world class advanced computing resource for UK researchers. ARCHER2 is provided by UKRI, EPCC, Cray (an HPE company) and the University of Edinburgh.

ARCHER2 will be a Cray Shasta system with an estimated peak performance of 28 PFLOP/s. The machine will have 5,848 compute nodes, each with dual AMD EPYC Zen2 (Rome) 64 core CPUs at 2.2GHz, giving 748,544 cores in total and 1.57 PBytes of total system memory.

ARCHER2 should be capable on average of over eleven times the science throughput of ARCHER, based on benchmarks which use five of the most heavily used codes on the current service. As with all new systems, the relative speedups over ARCHER vary by benchmark. The ARCHER2 science throughput codes used for the benchmarking evaluation are estimated to reach 8.7x for CP2K, 9.5x for OpenSBLI, 11.3x for CASTEP, 12.9x for GROMACS, and 18.0x for HadGEM3.

Hardware specifications

  • 5,848 compute nodes, each with dual AMD Rome 64 core CPUs at 2.2GHz, giving 748,544 cores in total and 1.57 PBytes of total system memory
  • 23x Shasta Mountain direct liquid cooled cabinets
  • 14.5 PBytes of Lustre work storage in 4 file systems
  • 1.1 PByte all-flash Lustre BurstBuffer file system
  • 1+1 PByte home file system in Disaster Recovery configuration using NetApp FAS8200
  • Cray next-generation Slingshot 100Gbps network in a diameter-three dragonfly topology, consisting of 46 compute groups, 1 I/O group and 1 Service group
  • Shasta River racks for management and post processing
  • Test and Development System (TDS) platform, to be installed in advance
  • Collaboration platform with 4 x compute nodes attached to 16 x Next Generation AMD GPUs

Software stack

  • Cray Programming Environment including optimizing compilers and libraries for the AMD Rome CPU
  • Cray Linux Environment optimized for the AMD CPU blade based on SLES 15
  • Shasta Software Stack
  • SLURM work load manager
  • CrayPat as profiler
  • GDB4HPC as debugger
  • ARCHER2 is due to commence operation in 2020, replacing the current service ARCHER.

EPCC has been awarded contracts to run the Service Provision (SP) and Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) services for the next national supercomputer, ARCHER2, following a procurement exercise delivered by UKRI. The £79 million service will be among the fastest fully general purpose (CPU only) systems in the world when it comes into service and will be housed at the University of Edinburgh’s Advanced Computing Facility.

The project is being delivered and supported by UKRI’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Service Provision provides vital system maintenance and upgrades when they are required, it is also the access point for users to the ARCHER2 system. Computational Science and Engineering provides support to users with their individual projects as well as ongoing help, software support and development. These are both integral parts of the full service.

The award of the contracts to provide these crucial services is a major milestone in commissioning the ARCHER2 service, and providing a step-change in capability for the UK’s digital research community,” said Dr James Hetherington, UKRI Director of Digital Research Infrastructure. “The people and skills that make advanced computational science possible are one of the most important parts of our computational science infrastructure.”

“The skilled individuals supported by this award will enable the UK to use the supercomputer to its full potential. They will provide a range of services, from the complex engineering tasks needed to keep a supercomputer running to advanced scientific programming, co-developing simulation codes with users. UKRI is delighted to continue its long-standing relationship with the team in Edinburgh, one of the UK’s leading centres of excellence in high performance computing.”

Professor Mark Parsons, EPCC Director, said: “EPCC is very proud to have been selected as the SP and CSE provider. It’s the users who make a service successful and we look forward to supporting all of them on the new ARCHER2 system.”

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