• Hartree investment will help drive future of UK industry
    Kate Royse and Noam Rosen, (Credit: STFC)

News & Views

Hartree investment will help drive future of UK industry

Jun 20 2024

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has signed an agreement with Lenovo that will bring a new supercomputer to STFC Hartree’s £30 million supercomputing centre, (currently under construction) as part of the £210 million investment into the Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation (HNCDI) programme.

Said to be ten times more powerful than its predecessor, but using less electricity through direct water cooling,  the supercomputer will power AI research for UK industry and support the HNCDI’s rapidly expanding supercomputing and AI activities. With a 44.7 petaflop system, the Lenovo ThinkSystem Neptune will perform more than 44 quadrillion floating point operations* (calculations) per second

The new GPU-based system (graphics processing unit) marks a significant leap for the Hartree Centre’s capabilities, compared to its current Scafell Pike; it has efficient warm water cooling, which can reduce energy demands by up to 40% while boosting performance by up to 10%. It will also be more power-efficient, taking up less space and using less electricity per unit of performance.

Kate Royse, Director, STFC Hartree Centre, said: “We are very excited to be working with Lenovo on our next generation of supercomputer at the Hartree Centre. Our mission is to equip UK industry with the knowledge, skills and compute needed to fully unlock the potential of advanced digital technologies.

“With our new supercomputer we will be able to support UK industry in the use of big data and AI technologies to enable UK businesses to take a leading role internationally on the responsible adoption and exploitation of AI technology.”

Noam Rosen, EMEA Director HPC and AI, Lenovo, said: “Lenovo is equally enthusiastic about our collaboration with the Hartree Centre on its ambitious journey to revolutionise HPC and AI capabilities in the UK. Our collaboration is not just about delivering a state-of-the-art supercomputer; it’s about building a versatile, robust and powerful system tailored to meet the Centre’s diverse and evolving needs.

Mark Thomson, Executive Chair, STFC, commented: “STFC’s agreement with Lenovo is an exciting milestone in our mission to provide UK businesses with access to the vital infrastructure and expertise that will help them to grow and succeed on a global scale, which in turn will drive productivity and job creation. By enabling UK industry to adopt advanced digital technologies, we are supporting the government ambitions to build a competitive and innovative digital economy that will both turbo drive economic growth and reap societal benefits for the UK, as well as for the UK to be a global AI superpower.

*(For context, if you were to carry out one calculation per second, it would take nearly 1,400 million years to reach this number).

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