HPE joint venture to build small supercomputers in UK

Hewlett Packard Enterprise, chip manufacturer Arm, the UK government, and software company SUSE will work together to manufacturer mini-supercomputers at three UK universities.

Known as Catalyst UK, the project wants to speed up the acceptance of supercomputers among academics and businesses in Britain.

The high-performance devices will be designed, built and supported by HPE at the universities of Bristol, Edinburgh and Leicester. Combined they will run over 12,000 Arm-based cores which will be hosted by HPE Apollo 70 setups.

Sam Gyimah, the science minister, called this a ‘major step forward’ in utilising the power of AI and supercomputing in Britain.

The programme will see researchers being trained on Arm-based systems, with the objective of eventually developing exa-scale computers capable of doing a billion billion calculations per second.

The Vice President of HPE’s advanced technologies group, Mike Vildbill, said he has observed a huge demand for computing power as firms became more and more reliant on data analytics.

The three clusters will each use about 30Kw of power, and Vildbill cautioned that it was very important for researchers to address barriers to entry like this as early as possible.

The senior VP of the Infrastructure Business unit at Arm, Drew Henry, said the firm had a proven history of working with both academia and the industry. They were especially thrilled now to offer British researchers and others improved access to the firm’s high-performance server infrastructure.

SUSE’s CTO, Thomas Di Giacomo, said the key to the success of the new programme would be its collaborative nature.