Supercomputer Archer unveiled at Edinburgh University

Archer supercomputer The supercomputer is being housed at the University of Edinburgh

A new supercomputer capable of more than a million billion calculations in a second is being launched at the University of Edinburgh.

The £43m Academic Research Computing High End Resource (Archer) system will carry out complex computations.

It is the most powerful supercomputer in the UK and has three and a half times the speed of the system it replaces.

It is hoped it will allow scientists to tackle previously unsolvable problems.

The Archer system will provide high performance computing support for research and industry projects in the UK.

The computer's twin rows of black cabinets are supported by the newly installed UK Research Data Facility, bringing together the UK's most powerful computer with one of its largest data centres.

It can support what are known as Big Data applications - huge collections of information too large for traditional analytical methods.

This should help researchers carry out complex calculations in diverse areas such as calculating the airflow around aircraft, or simulating the Earth's climate.

Archer supercomputer The Archer supercomputer can support Big Data applications

Principal of the University of Edinburgh, Prof Sir Timothy O'Shea, said: "The University of Edinburgh has for many decades been a pioneer in high performance computing.

"Now that Big Data is reaching into an even greater range of areas we are delighted to have the Archer facility and its support at Edinburgh.

"Together with the UK Research Data Facility, we and the research councils have a facility unique in the UK, combining some of the world's most powerful computers with a vast datastore and analysis facilities."

He added: "We will work with the research councils and UK researchers to generate world-leading research and business impact."

The university said the building housing the Archer system was among the greenest computer centres in the world, with cooling costs of only 8p for every £1 spent on power.

The supercomputer was supplied by US computing experts Cray and is funded and owned by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Prof David Delpy, chief executive of the EPSRC, said: "It will enable researchers in engineering and the physical sciences to continue to be at the forefront of computational science developments and make significant contributions in the use of Big Data to improve understanding across many fields and develop solutions to global challenges."

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