Dell Shoots for the Stars

A few weeks ago, we announced exciting news about our work with The University of Portsmouth in the UK, where Dell is providing the University’s Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation with a new high performance computer (HPC) called SCIAMA1.

The SCIAMA has helped put the University and the South East Physics Network among the global leaders in physics research and uses data from telescopes to simulate and test current theories about the Universe. 

The university’s scientists will be able to analyse the very large volumes of data needed for their research much faster than with existing systems.

Dell’s standardised x86 High Performance Computing (HPC) solutions combined with SAS2 based storage and Infiniband help the high performance computing community acquire simplified, flexible and efficient computing solutions at a fraction of the cost of proprietary systems. Dell’s previous experience with The Cambridge University HPC Solution Centre and with CERN’s Large Hadron Collider research centres provides customers with support and best practice gleaned from some of the world’s most advanced HPC environments.

One of the major benefits for the University of Portsmouth was the seamless execution of Dell’s implementation. SCIAMA was delivered direct from Dell pre-built, pre-installed, and was up and running within one day compared with the couple of weeks it would have taken to build it on-site. The installation off-site meant that Dell could pre-test the machine before the customer even saw it, providing a much more stress-free and easy outcome for the customer.

SCIAMA came pre-installed with a complex piece of open-source software called Lustre, which provides a highly scalable file system at excellent value for money.

Following the implementation of SCIAMA, Dell is holding a workshop in May for the University of Portsmouth and neighbouring universities within a 100 mile radius to showcase Dell’s HPC offering. The workshop will be split into 2 parts – one part will look at the HPC technology coming up and the second part will be focused on the end users.

The Workshop is designed to interest both HPC decision makers and researchers. The workshop is an opportunity to look at the future of HPC, software environments and tools. We will have some sessions directed at the researches, with practical advice on how to get the best from their HPC system.

The Workshop is part of the Dell Accelerating Understanding series, where Dell is working closely with the HPC community to create new opportunities and share ideas.

1, Named after the Dennis Sciama, a leading figure in the international development of astrophysics and cosmology. SCIAMA is also an acronym of the South East Physics Network Computing Infrastructure for Astrophysical Modelling and Analysis.

About the Author: James Coomer