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New 7 million pound supercomputer facility opens

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01 May 2008

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A new supercomputer facility, known as ‘BlueCrystal’ that will revolutionise research in areas such as climate change, drug design and aerospace engineering has been opened at the University of Bristol today [Thursday 1 May] by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eric Thomas.

BlueCrystal is one of the fastest and largest computers of its kind in the UK, able to carry out more than 37 trillion calculations a second. The state-of-the-art system, provided as a result of collaboration between various companies including ClusterVision, IBM and ClearSpeed, enables researchers from a wide range of disciplines to undertake research requiring either very large amounts of data to be processed or lengthy computations to be carried out.

Dr Ian Stewart, Director of the University’s Advanced Computing Research Centre, said: "Serious research in many disciplines can no longer be undertaken without High Performance Computing (HPC) and the University has recognised this through its investment in BlueCrystal. HPC-based research contributes significantly to University research income and will play an increasingly important role in teaching."

The HPC facility is housed in a unique state-of-the-art machine room and is designed to be energy-efficient. The room makes use of advanced remote management equipment and is fitted with a leading-edge air-conditioning solution, which uses energy-efficient, water-cooled racks.

The event took place at the University and Literary Club. Guests included IBM’s WW Vice-President of Deep Computing, Dave Turek; Chief Executive of Bristol City Council, Jan Ormondroyd; the Lord-Lieutenant, Mary Prior; and the Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor Royston Griffey.

Dave Turek, WW Vice-President of Supercomputing at IBM, said: "The new supercomputer facility at the University of Bristol is an exciting development and we are delighted that the University has chosen to work with IBM to create this leading-edge infrastructure. Bristol is a world-class facility with researchers leading work in some of the most significant areas of modern research. We look forward to collaborating with the University."