‘Viking’ Cluster Breaks Through Barriers to Conquer Pressing Global Research Challenges

University of York equips scientists with massive, leading-edge high performance computing power.

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Dell EMC

The University of York is known as a dynamic, research-intensive university committed to the development of life-saving discoveries and new technologies to address pressing global challenges. A member of the elite Russell Group of institutions, the U.K. institution is home to nearly 16,000 students and more than 30 academic departments and research centers.

To support its highly regarded research program, the University of York provides its faculty and students with access to leading-edge high performance computing (HPC) resources. That’s the case with the university’s new HPC cluster, named Viking. Based on Dell EMC PowerEdge™ servers and Intel® Xeon® processors, the Viking cluster is designed to serve as a transformative resource that meets a wide range of research requirements.

The cluster — built by IT services company Alces Flight in close collaboration with IT specialists from the university — equips the University of York’s research community with a massive amount of compute power. The system has an estimated performance of 435.2 TFLOPS. It includes 173 nodes with a total 42 TB of memory, connected by a high-speed 100-Gb InfiniBand network. It has 7,024 Intel® Xeon® Gold/Platinum cores, eight accelerators for deep learning performance, and 2.5 PB of high performance storage with a 12-GB/s data transfer rate.

As a Dell EMC case study notes, Viking is designed to help researchers accelerate even the most demanding workloads, from spatial data analysis and large-scale modeling to sound recognition and genome and protein sequencing — to name just a few examples of the advanced research supported by the university’s IT Services organization.

This is the type of research that easily pushes and exceeds the limits of smaller systems. Not so with Viking, which is built for compute- and data-intensive workloads. The university reports projects that might take 40 days to process on a PC can be run in as little as two hours on the Viking cluster.1 Delivering this level of performance is all part of the university’s commitment to support and strengthen research activities by providing facilities and services that make doing research easier, faster and more productive.

“Viking is removing barriers,” says Dr. Emma Barnes, the project manager from the university’s IT team. “The main thing we wanted to do was allow people to do more research, more science. That was the driver for this whole project, and we achieved that goal.”

To learn more

  1. University of York IT Services, Research Computing, accessed June 4, 2019.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.