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The Universtiy of Edinburgh
Bayes Centre, 47 Potterrow, Edinburgh, EH8 9BT (United Kingdom)
EPCC is the supercomputing centre at The University of Edinburgh.
EPCC's mission is to accelerate the effective exploitation of novel computing throughout industry, academia and commerce.
This is achieved through a range of activities spanning undergraduate and advanced training programmes, service provision, industrial affiliation, research and contract work. EPCC houses an exceptional range of supercomputers, with 90 staff committed to the solution of real-world problems.
HPC Systems and Consultancy Services
EPCC operates a number of HPC sevices including ARCHER (Advanced Research Computing High End Resource, which is the UK’s primary academic research supercomputer, and CIRRUS, a state-of-the art SGI ICE XA system with 280 compute nodes, utilising a superfast Infiniband interconnect.
Cost of entry is arguably the biggest barrier restricting the uptake of HPC. Our HPC on-demand service eliminates the requirement for capital expenditure by giving access to supercomputing and associated facilities, as and when required. Known as “Accelerator”, this service is fully scalable and its fully flexible “pay as you go” pricing model provides an affordable entry point to capabilities that have the potential to transform business (https://www.epcc.ed.ac.uk/work-us/industry-engagement-programmes/accelerator).
One of EPCC's core objectives is to develop, demonstrate and deploy software that can scale to the largest new and next generation computing architectures. This can apply to new algorithms or optimising existing code, opening the door to the handling of ever vaster datasets and the exploitation of unprecedented sophisticated modelling and simulation capabilities.
Data Storage and Analytics
EPCC hosts the UK's Research Data Facility (RDF) funded by funded by the UK Research Councils EPSRC and NERC. This provides a high capacity, persistent, robust and extensible framework for the UK's research community.
EPCC is the operator of the new NHS National Services Scotland (https://nhsnss.org) national safe haven in collaboration with the Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research (https://www.farrinstitute.org) which provides the infrastructure. Safe havens allow data from electronic records to be used to support research when it is not practicable to obtain individual patient consent while protecting patient identity and privacy.
EPCC is the coordinator of the I4MS initiative Fortissimo, an Innovation Action funded under H2020 which has carried out over 90 business experiments aimed at introducing new users (in particular SMEs) to advanced simulation and modelling using HPC, and to high performance data analytics. (See https://www.fortissimo-project.eu/partners/university-edinburgh)
EPCC also leads the NEXTGenIO project (https://www.nextgenio.eu) which addresses the challenge of I/O for exascale systems.
Link to national or regional initiatives for digitising industry
The Fortissimo Project is aimed at providing a one-stop-shop for modelling and simulation, together with high-performance data-analytics for manurcaturing across the EU, with EPCC hosting the regional centre for Soctland and the rest of the UK: https//www.fortissimo-project.eu
The Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal is a major investment into the area, where 24% of the population of Scotland live. EPCC is participating in this Programme as the delivery mechanism for Data-Driven Innovation projects for industry and public sector. http://www.acceleratinggrowth.org.uk/
Market and Services
- Visioning and Strategy Development for Businesses
- Collaborative Researchs
- Concept validation and prototyping
- Education and skills development
Client Profile: Industrial research communtiy
Client Needs: Access to HPC resource for running pre-installed or proprietary HPC application software. HIghly repsonsive support mechnism. Bespoke access mechanisms (eg priority job queues).
Our on-demand computing service is called Accelerator and it brings leading edge supercomputing capability directly to your desktop.
Accelerator is targeted at engineers and scientists solving complex simulation and modelling problems in fields such as BioInformatics, Computational Biology, Computational Chemistry, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Finite Element Analysis, Life Sciences and Earth Sciences.
The Accelerator model is based on providing direct access to HPC platforms delivering the highest levels of performance. Unlike cloud-based services there are no inefficient virtualisation techniques deployed. The highest levels of data security are provided, and the service is administered directly by you using a range of administration and reporting functions. The service is fully supported with an integral help desk. EPCC support staff are available to help with usage problems such as compiling codes and running jobs.
Once set up with access to our Accelerator service you choose how much resource to use and when. Users have complete control over managing their project resources – jobs, disk space, and archiving. The Accelerator usage model is based on pay-per use service and provides an excellent alternative to purchasing expensive HPC hardware. The service can be used to satisfy contingency and peak demand requirements.
Accelerator service billing is simple and straightforward. You pay for what you use and nothing more. Service administration functions provide access to a full range of resource usage reports that let you manage and control your project budgets.More details: https://www.epcc.ed.ac.uk/work-us/industry-engagement-programmes/accelerator
Software Development Service
Client profile: Software vendors or users of open source software looking to exploit parallel or novel computing architectures.
Client needs: Bespoke code development and/or in depth advice on how to exploit new architectures.
Our expertise in parallel and distributed computing (using MPI, Open-MP and Web services) is internationally recognised, in fact, we helped to set the MPI and OpenMP standards. Our software developers program on Linux, Windows and in various Unix environments using .NET, Fortran, C, C++, Java, XML, Perl, Python and numerous other languages.
We treat every software project as unique, aiming to use whatever technologies the client and task demand. Alongside this flexibility, we have a strong track-record of delivering on time and to budget using a comprehensive project management process based on the PRINCE2 methodology.
HPC application design, development and re-engineering
Whilst many software codes deliver the correct result, they don't necessarily use the most optimal numerical algorithm, nor have they been designed with today's multi-core and multi-processor architectures in mind.
EPCC provides the following services:
- New numerical application design and development;
- Code analysis and re-design for performance also design and delivery of new numerical algorithms designed for higher performance on the target architecture.
HPC application performance optimisation
Software optimisation is one of EPCC's core competencies. For an application to run on today's HPC systems, it must exist in a form suitable for parallel processing. We can adapt your in-house code so that it runs on the parallel architectures of today's HPC systems. We can also parallelise commercial codes by partnering with independent sofware vendors to port their codes for use on our HPC systems.
ARCHER (Advanced Research Computing High End Resource) is the UK’s primary academic research supercomputer.
Client profile: UK research community
Client needs: Expertise to run HPC applications in pursuit of research objectives. Support for code adaptation. HPC training.
The £43m ARCHER service enables UK researchers to carry out internationally-competitive work, so supporting the UK's status as a leader in computational science and engineering. ARCHER, a Cray XC30 (link is external), is housed at the University of Edinburgh’s Advanced Computing Facility (ACF).
Access to ARCHER
There are a range of ways to access ARCHER for your research depending on your work
- University of Edinburgh researchers - University of Edinburgh researchers can gain access to ARCHER for their research via EPCC, see below
- Academic researchers. - The ARCHER website lists access routes
- Commercial organisations - EPCC provides access
The ARCHER service
The service comprises a number of components:
- User and computational science and engineering support, including training (EPCC)
- Accommodation (University of Edinburgh)
- Hardware (Cray)
- Systems support (EPCC and Daresbury Laboratory).
Support for science
Computational science & engineering support
Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) support on ARCHER is provided by EPCC. It includes responsibility for helping users with porting, optimising and developing their codes for ARCHER, ensuring that the correct scientific software is installed on the system to meet user requirements, providing advice and best practices to enable users to exploit ARCHER resources, and training and developing scientific software expertise among UK researchers.
The ARCHER facility is based around a Cray XC30 supercomputer that provides the central computational resource. It is supported by a number of additional components including: high-performance parallel filesystems, pre- and post-processing facilities, external login nodes, and a large, resilient, long-term data facility.
More details: https://www.archer.ac.uk
(part of) Public organization (part of RTO, or university)
Number of employees
Number of customers annually
Type of customers
- SMEs (<250 employees)
- MidCaps (between €2-10 billion turnover)
- Large companies, multi-nationals
- Research organisations
- Start-up companies
- Artificial Intelligence and cognitive systems
- Advanced or High performance computing
- Data mining, big data, database management
- Simulation and modelling
- Software as a service and service architectures
- Cloud computing
Factories of the Future Resources, Technology, Infrastructure and Services for Simulation and Modelling 2Factories of the Future Resources, Technology, Infrastructure and Services for Simulation and Modelling 2
Fortissimo 2 will drive the uptake of advanced modelling, simulation and data analytics by European engineering and manufacturing SMEs and mid-caps. Such an uptake will deliver improved design processes, better products and services, and improved competitiveness. For the European Union as a whole this means improved employment opportunities and economic growth.
The importance of advanced ICT to the competitiveness of both large and small companies in the engineering and manufacturing domain is well established. Despite early successes in this area, there are still many barriers to the uptake of such solutions, not least of which are the initial cost and complexity of adoption, particularly in the context of challenging trading conditions. This proposal targets the ICT Innovation for Manufacturing SMEs (I4MS) action line (Phase 2) and builds on Phase 1 of that initiative.
Phase 2 addresses the adoption of next generation ICT advances in the manufacturing domain. At the core of Fortissimo 2 are three tranches of Application Experiments (~35 in total). An initial set is included in this proposal and two further sets will be obtained through Open Calls for proposals. These experiments will be driven by the requirements of first-time users (predominately SMEs) and will bring together actors from across the value chain, from cycle providers to domain experts via the Fortissimo Marketplace. This will enable innovative solutions to manufacturing challenges, leading to new and improved design processes, products and services. A key feature of Fortissimo 2 will be the adaption of the Marketplace to meet the needs of end-users. It will offer a responsive and reliable service to companies which want to access HPC and Big resources and expertise.
Fortissimo 2 initially involves 732 months of effort, a total cost of €11.1m and EC funding of €10m over a duration of three years, commensurate with achieving its ambitious goals.
TEchnology TRAnsfer via Multinational Application eXperimentsTEchnology TRAnsfer via Multinational Application eXperiments
The major objective of TETRAMAX is to provide an implementation of the European “Smart Anything Everywhere (SAE)” initiative in the domain of customized low energy computing (CLEC) for CPS and the IoT. The project builds on three major activity lines: (1) Stimulating, organizing, co-funding, and evaluating different types of cross-border Application Experiments, providing “EU added value” via innovative CLEC technologies to first-time users and broad markets in European ICT-related industries, (2) Building and leveraging a new European CLEC competence center network, offering technology brokerage, one-stop shop assistance and CLEC training to SMEs and mid-caps, and with a clear evolution path towards new regional digital innovation hubs where needed, and (3) Paving the way towards self-sustainability based on pragmatic and customized long-term business plans. The project impact will be measured based on well-defined, goal-oriented performance indicators. The immediate ambition of TETRAMAX within its duration is to support 50+ industry clients and 3rd parties in the entire EU with innovative technologies, leading to an estimated revenue increase of 25 Mio. € based on 50+ new or improved CLEC-based products, 10+ entirely new businesses/SMEs initiated, as well as 30+ new permanent jobs and significant cost and energy savings in product manufacturing. Moreover, in the long term, TETRAMAX will be the trailblazer towards a reinforced, profitable, and sustainable ecosystem infrastructure, providing CLEC competence, services and a continuous innovation stream at European scale, yet with strong regional presence as preferred by SMEs.