Lenovo and Intel Partner for Sustainable HPC and AI at Imperial College London

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Scott Tease, VP and GM of HPC & AI Lenovo, and Prof. Mary Ryan, Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise), Imperial College London

London – May 16, 2023 — Imperial College London has signed a joint collaboration with Lenovo and Intel to deliver more sustainable High Performance Computing (HPC) as part of their central Research Computing Service (RCS). The agreement also creates a new ICICLE collaboration, in which Lenovo and Intel will support access to a range of long-term research, emerging technology and gender balance initiatives to help nurture the next generation of researchers and prepare Imperial’s student population for the tremendous opportunities in the HPC and AI spaces. The new solution will enable parallel compute workloads for all faculties (Engineering, Natural Sciences, Medicine, Business School), providing researchers and their industry partners with next generation High Performance Computing to help address global challenges. 

To support the future of research this multi-year collaboration, and initial investment, will make Imperial College one of the largest Tier 3 HPC universities in UK. With the aim to install more sustainable forms of HPC, the RCS is now equipped with Lenovo Neptune Water Cooling Technology to ensure server components and high bandwidth memory (HBM) run efficiently with cooling capabilities otherwise not achievable using traditional methods. The collaboration also promises to deliver workshops on deep learning, water cooling and hybrid cloud.  

Imperial College, Lenovo and Intel all share an unwavering commitment and innovative eagerness to sustainability. The RCS supercomputer is now able to run with both reduced power and carbon emissions, while providing researchers with the HPC power to create sustainable solutions to benefit the wider society, having a positive long-term impact on humanity. 

“We are delighted to be partnering with Lenovo and Intel to provide our researchers with the most advanced HPC technology,” said Professor Mary Ryan, Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise), Imperial College London. “This investment strengthens our position at the forefront of research, innovation and training, with increased capabilities and better services, while also reducing our future carbon footprint.”  

The Research Computing Service is central to Imperial’s research infrastructure and the digital campus that connects to new initiatives such as the White City Campus for innovation, entrepreneurship, and multidisciplinary research. RCS provides advanced computing resources to any researcher at Imperial College London through its scheduled and interactive HPC platforms, large scale data storage and data transfer capabilities, and research software engineering consultancy and communities. 

“Like many in the HPC community, Imperial College London faced two competing mandates for their new supercomputer – the need to deliver more computational power to their researchers across multiple disciplines to drive a faster time to answers, and the requirement to reduce the environmental impact of the system,” said Scott Tease, VP and GM of HPC & AI. “Lenovo is very proud that they chose to build that system on our ThinkSystem servers with Neptune™ liquid cooling technology.  By utilizing Neptune™ systems with Intel’s High Bandwidth (HBM) memory, Imperial College will provide their researchers with phenomenal compute capabilities, while actually reducing the power consumed to deliver them.” 

As part of the collaborative work, Lenovo will provide HPC tailored managed service to assist with operational support, access to liquid cooling experts as the new strategy is implemented, and technical assessments such as Power and Cooling Resiliency Assessment, Data Center Baseline Cooling, and Dense/HPC System Thermal Modelling.  

“Nurturing the next generation of HPC and AI scientists is not only the responsibility of academic institutions but also the tech industry” said Adam Roe, HPC Technical Director, EMEA, Intel Corporation. “Intel is at the forefront of emerging technologies, and through this collaboration will sponsor PhD students through the UKRI iCase program, provide remote access into the Intel DevCloud and Software Development Platforms (SDPs), and support Imperial to develop its HPC platforms while founding itself as an Intel HPC code optimization specialist and oneAPI Centre of Excellence.”  

Imperial currently has eight college-level Academic Strategy Projects. One of these is the Global Development Hub, a focus for researchers engaging with the urgent challenges around sustainable energy technologies, climate change, food and water security, and infectious diseases. For example: Professor Jenny Nelson in Imperial’s Department of Physics researches the properties of semiconductor materials and investigates their application in low-cost organic solar cells, bringing together experiment and computer simulation supported by Imperial’s RCS. For over a decade, the team have worked together with Imperial’s Grantham Institute to deliver clean energy systems for developing countries. Researchers across Imperial and its global collaboration networks will now have access to more sustainable HPC and AI capabilities for the journey towards a sustainable, zero pollution future.