CAPS News Story


SCIAMA the Supercomputer goes online

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Friday, 4th February, 2011

A supercomputer capable of doing a billion calculations each second has been installed at the University of Portsmouth, enabling astrophysicists at the University of Kent to test our understanding of the origin of stars. With funding from SEPNet, seven Universities across the south-east of England have contributed towards the supercomputer, called `SCIAMA', which is a 1008 Intel core cluster, representing the equivalent strength of approximately 1000 desktop systems, and is designed to receive, process and present large amounts of astronomical data very quickly.


SCIAMA has been designed and supplied by Dell, in association with Alces Software. It will be housed in a University computer room, where researchers can access it remotely from their laptops or PCs. The installation of the computer has been jointly funded by the South East Physics Network (SEPNet), the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the University of Portsmouth. In addition to being used by cosmologists at the University, users at all SEPNet astronomy departments will also have access.

Astrophysicists in Kent will run their final models on this supercomputer after doing the fundamental research on their own 64 core SGI Altix cluster, called `Forge', housed in the School of Physical Sciences. Forge was also acquired through SEPNet, in addition to University of Kent funding, and is open to all SEPNet partners.
The new supercomputer was named after Dennis Sciama, a leading figure internationally in the development of astrophysics and cosmology. The name is also an acronym for SEPnet Computing Infrastructure for Astrophysical Modelling and Analysis.

Notes to editors

Further text and images are available at: the Portsmouth site.

For more information please contact:
Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NH
Professor Michael Smith