Chief Executive John Womersley of STFC and Lawrence Livermore (LLNL) Director Parney Albright signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at a ceremony in Livermore's high performance computing (HPC) centre that provides a vehicle for technical and business development exchanges between the HPCIC and the STFC's Hartree Centre, which is dedicated to making HPC more accessible to British industry and academia.
David Willetts, UK Minister for Universities and Science, stated: "The partnership between the Hartree Centre and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's High Performance Computing Innovation Centrer is a significant development. It will greatly speed up the innovation of products and services to help us address complex challenges such as climate prediction and disease detection. This is a huge step forward in the big data revolution, one of the eight great technologies which will propel the UK to future growth. It will increase the capability of both centres, allowing them to harness the power of high performance computing."
Professor John Womersley, Chief Executive of the UK STFC, speaking at the signing, stated: "One of our goals at STFC is to bridge the gap between science and industry. The agreement we've signed today will help us to exploit the full potential of high performance computing for the UK - from basic research through R&D to new product design. I am thrilled to be signing this agreement as it takes significant strides towards translating cutting edge R&D into successful commercial opportunities, and will provide UK businesses and industry with the technology they need to be able to compete on a global scale."
Areas of collaboration are to include the development and operation of HPC technologies and applications and associated industrial outreach and partnership efforts.
Initial joint projects with the Hartree Centre will likely include the development of software tools that would allow industry to leverage Blue Gene/Q's computing power for industrial and business applications. BG/Q's architecture lends itself to data intensive computing tasks important to work in applications such as cyber-security, network optimization, atmospheric modelling, bioinformatics and medicine. Data intensive computing is commonly referred to as "Big Data".
"This agreement builds on the strong and enduring alliance between our countries in matters of security and economic cooperation", stated LLNL Director Parney Albright. "The common goals we share and complementary strengths we bring to this collaboration will allow our HPC Innovation Center and STFC's Hartree Centre to exploit their clear synergies to our mutual benefit."
The HPCIC and Hartree Centre were created to spur economic development by increasing the impact of HPC on technological innovation. As a result of this common mission the HPCIC and Hartree Centre share common goals: making HPC resources and expertise available to industry and academia; seeking to develop and deploy scalable solutions that solve customer problems; proving a return on investment to an often sceptical audience; and a focus on accelerating the innovations that spur economic growth.
In addition, both centres offer an IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer as their primary industrial computing resource. Among the Livermore supercomputing resources available to the HPCIC for collaborative work is "Vulcan", a five-petaflop/s (quadrillion floating operation per second) IBM Blue Gene/Q system that is ranked no. 8 on the industry standard Top500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers. The Hartree Centre is home to the UK's most powerful supercomputer, a 1.4-petaflops BG/Q system. The availability of a common architecture will facilitate the joint development of HPC applications and ancillary software.
Industry's adoption of high end supercomputing has been hindered by one or more barriers, such as the high cost of HPC systems; the lack of software appropriate to the task; or a lack of domain expertise in applying HPC to industrial problems. Both the Hartree Centre and HPCIC are designed to remove these hurdles, to demonstrate the potential of supercomputing and to accelerate innovation for economic development.
Cliff Brereton, Director of the Hartree Centre explained what this agreement will mean for UK industry: "Today's announcement between Hartree and LLNL will bring together complimentary know how, assets and resources in advanced modelling and simulation to improve the competitive standing of commercial organisations here in the UK and in the US. Through this new arrangement we will be able to offer to our respective industrial clients the opportunity to design even better products and to do this faster and cheaper."
Also attending the ceremony were U.K. Consul General Priya Guha and John Bancroft, STFC's head of project development in the Asia Pacific region, as well as LLNL Deputy Director Bill Goldstein and HPC Innovation Center Director Fred Streitz.