Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University’s joint facility targets six exemplar areas of research and elevating efficiency through Research Software Engineering (RSE)

Press Release updated: Oct 21, 2020 14:00 BST


Alces Flight is pleased to announce the completion of the ‘Kelvin2’ supercomputer installation at the NI-HPC Facility. This HPC cluster, built in partnership with Dell EMC and ROC Technologies focuses on six exemplar areas of research: Neuroscience, Advanced Chemistry, Innovative Drug Delivery, Precision Medicine, Metabolomics, and Hydrogen Safety. “Through the collaboration with Ulster University we intend to increasingly develop specialist HPC workflows incorporating machine learning and artificial intelligence frameworks,” said Vaughan Purnell, Research Computing Manager at Queen’s University Belfast. “These novel research topics require deep interaction with our end-user base. Our mission is to enable and train the next generation of researchers in these exciting new research domains. By collaborating with Alces Flight we can manage the change that comes with new ideas efficiently and effectively.”

The Kelvin2 cluster features capabilities including 128-core AMD EPYC2 and AVX512 Intel Xeon equipped compute nodes, Nvidia V100 GPUs, a Mellanox 100Gb Infiniband low-latency interconnect and more than 6PB of storage capacity organised into different featured tiers. With a focus on emerging HPC fields, the NI-HPC facility has also established an RSE program with the intention of establishing an efficient, effective workflow process for their users. To ensure that efficiency is maintained across the Kelvin2 cluster the NI-HPC team has collaborated with Alces Flight to centralise and manage their cluster resources. “It’s important to grow our user base intelligently,” said James McGroarty, RSE for Queen’s University Belfast, “By having solution and change management services provided by Alces Flight the RSE team can focus on users, analyse and improve their workflows, and easily plan future changes to help our solution to continuously meet our researchers’ requirements.”

Besides providing integration of new hardware into the cluster, Alces Flight will be providing ongoing services in order to effectively reduce costs and keep change requests managed. This service will be provided through the Alces Flight Center tool where NI-HPC will centralise and develop their HPC knowledge for the Research Computing and RSE teams.

“We have worked with Queen’s and Ulster to integrate the latest hardware refresh into the existing HPC service adopted by the University,” explains Wil Mayers, Technical Consultant for Alces Flight. “Our goal is to transparently bring new capabilities and capacity online without major upheaval, minimising the impact to users and providing strong foundations to build on. The Research Computing and RSE teams have the power to develop and optimise new workflows, safe in the knowledge that their infrastructure is being taken care of. Now these teams can focus on adding value to the users and research communities that matter most to the NI-HPC initiative.”

Source: Alces Flight Limited