High Performance Computing

About high performance computing (HPC)

Isca is the University’s new HPC environment. It represents a £3m investment by the University, designed to serve the advanced computing requirements of all research disciplines.

Isca combines a traditional HPC cluster with a virtualised cluster environment, providing a range of node types in a single machine, and as such is the first of its kind in a UK University.

This new HPC environment is being deployed in two phases. The first phase is now live and researchers are able to register for an account by emailing Isca team. A second phase to Isca is planned for 2017, with investment targeted to match the demand profile for phase one. In this way, the University is able to ensure that evolving requirements from all researchers are best accommodated by the resources available.

Isca is available free of charge to all research groups on all campuses, and consists of a range of compute resources: the traditional cluster (128 GB nodes) is complimented by two large memory (3TB) nodes, Xeon Phi accelerator nodes and GPU (Tesla K80) compute nodes. The non-traditional element of Isca includes a cluster of higher memory nodes (256 GB), 3 TB nodes, and an Openstack environment for the management of virtualised resources.

The university is also part of the GW4 consortium that have partnered with Cray to deliver a Tier 2 developmental system known as Isambard. Isambard is designed to evaluate novel technologies such as GPU cards, Intel's Phi architecture and Arm processors.