NVIDIA and government lab develop super-computers

David Willetts wants to make the UK 'location of choice'. Picture: PA
David Willetts wants to make the UK 'location of choice'. Picture: PA
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NVIDIA, one of the largest computer chip developers, yesterday sealed a deal with the UK government’s Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to develop the next generation of super-computers.

Under the deal, STFC will develop software to run on “exascale”-class computers, which will be capable of performing a million trillion calculations each second, one thousand times faster than the current generation of machines.

Each exascale-class device will contain hundreds of thousands of graphics processing units (GPU), an area in which Nvidia specialises, and will allow industrial users to design new materials, conduct stress tests and model weather patterns.

The deal follows on from a £37.5 million investment from the UK government’s Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (Bis) in STFC’s high-performance computing (HPC) unit at the Daresbury laboratory in Cheshire.

Science minister David Willetts said: “The UK government is investing in HPC to make the UK the location of choice for high-tech research and innovation. This partnership will bring together leading researchers and business.”

David Corney, acting director of STFC’s department of scientific computing, added: “This agreement combines Nvidia’s leading-edge GPU accelerator technologies and HPC expertise with STFC’s software development expertise. This unique combination will enable the development of next-generation massively parallel applications, which will be used for exascale performance levels, or a thousand times more powerful than ‘Blue Joule’ at STFC, the most powerful computer in the UK.”

Previous deals involving STFC have included research and development work with Unilever.