Loughborough’s new ‘Lovelace’ computer ‘a huge step forward’

The new high-performance computer consumes roughly half the electricity of its predecessor but delivers three to four times the output

Loughborough University has unveiled a £1.1-million computer named after English mathematician Ada Lovelace – an installation a university director described as “a huge step forward” for researchers there.

The new high-performance computer (HPC), first installed last year, had its unveiling delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. It replaces Hyrda, a 10-year-old model – but consumes roughly half the electricity of its predecessor whilst delivering three to four times the output. The model designed by OCF features 58 nodes and 2,230 cores – the equivalent of 58 computers each with 40 processors.

Since installation, 200 academics, PhD students and researchers across the university have used Ada Lovelace computer for including motorsport aerodynamics, quantum physics, next-generation battery modelling and fluid dynamics.

Lovelace is a huge step forward for us. The computational capacity knows no bounds
– Matthew Cook, Loughborough University

Matthew Cook, assistant director of infrastructure and operations at Loughborough University, said “there are approximately 100 academic papers per year” connected to HPC facilities. “Lovelace is a huge step forward for us. The computational capacity knows no bounds,” he said.

“The users are primarily from our science and engineering departments,” he said, “but as we are actively encouraging a university-wide HPC culture, and the cluster becomes more integral to our diverse teams, we have increased uptake from other areas such as creative arts and economics.”

The new HPC cluster provides 58 Lenovo SD530 compute nodes with 40 compute cores each, 2,320 total, three dedicated GPGPU nodes each with dual NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs and two high memory visualisation nodes.

All systems are connected via Mellanox HDR100 InfiniBand fast networking and backed by 800TB of Lenovo DSS-G Storage which uses the IBM Spectrum Scale FileSystem.

Dr Pooja Goddard, senior lecturer in chemistry at Loughborough University, said the new machine “helps hugely when applying for grant funding”.

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