University of Southampton unveils £3 million supercomputer


The University of Southampton has spent 3 million on what is believed to be one of the world's most powerful supercomputers in a bid to beef up its ability to handle complex computations in research areas such as cancer and climate change.

The IBM-powered supercomputer is said to be capable of 74 trillion calculations per second, thanks to IBM iDataPlex server technology and more than 2,000 Intel Quad Core processors.

"This significant investment will ensure that our researchers have computing facilities to rival the best in the world," said the University's deputy vice chancellor, Professor Philip Nelson, in a statement.

The supercomputer, built and implemented by OCF, will rival the computational power of around 4,000 standard office machines.

"We need extremely high levels of computing power in our work mapping the disease genes implicated in breast cancer, IBD and glaucoma," said Geneticist Professor Andrew Collins, in a statement.

"With the volume of genome data increasing hugely each year, its analysis requires the most highly-sophisticated facilities."

Dr Seth Bullock, director of the university's Complex Systems Simulation Doctoral Training Centre, added: "Using these new facilities we will see simulation modelling used to drive the design of new drugs tested on simulated organisms, to shape our response to climate change, to redesign our transport systems, and even to explore the origins of life on earth. The quality of simulations such as these is becoming crucial in the modern world."

The deal is said to have netted IBM 1.8 million, and will be the first of its kind in the UK public sector.