The University of Edinburgh is getting a new supercomputer for academic and commercial research, and now we know it'll cost around 79 million quid.
The project is funded by HM Treasury as part of a £200m investment in British innovation, announced in the Spring Statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, earlier today.
According to the university, Archer 2 will be five times faster than its predecessor, Archer (Academic Research Computing High End Resource) – currently the 10th most powerful system in the UK, and number 186 worldwide.
Archer – itself a successor to HECToR (High End Computing Terascale Resource) – was launched in 2013, built by venerable supercomputer specialist Cray and featuring 118,080 Intel Xeon E5 v2 processor cores. The entire Archer national supercomputing service – which includes everything from hardware to tech support to accommodation for researchers – cost the taxpayer £43m.
In contrast, according to prior reports by Government Computing, Archer 2 will require £40m on hardware alone, with another £18m earmarked for support and maintenance.
The new machine will be used to run "massive research simulations" in areas like medicine, climate science and aerospace. Among other things, it will continue where Archer left off, working on promising targeted treatments for arthritis and HIV.
Archer 2 will be housed at the University's Advanced Computing Facility at Easter Bush.
"Archer 2 will provide UK science with an unparalleled capability to model and simulate the world around us," said Professor Mark Parsons, director of the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC).
"This is a real vote of confidence in the University’s supercomputing centre, EPCC, which is internationally recognised for its excellence in computational science." ®