University of Oxford Deploys U.K.’s Most Powerful GPU Supercomputer to Accelerate Scientific Research

Newest CUDA Center of Excellence, U.K. Researchers to Use “Emerald” System to Drive Discovery in Astrophysics, Genomics and Nanotechnology

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OXFORD, United Kingdom—July 4, 2012 – NVIDIA today announced that the University of Oxford and a consortium of top U.K.-based academic institutions have deployed the nation’s most powerful GPU-accelerated supercomputer to enable advanced research across a range of scientific and engineering fields.


Unveiled yesterday at the newly established Center for Innovation in High Performance Computing (HPC) at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Didcot, the “Emerald” system is an 84-node cluster equipped with 372 NVIDIA® Tesla® M2090 GPUs, delivering more than 114 teraflops of performance.

Emerald was developed to enable scientists and engineers from across the United Kingdom to accelerate computationally intensive research in astrophysics, bioinformatics, chemistry, engineering, genomics, life sciences, nanotechnology, physics, and many other fields.

“The Emerald supercomputer forms part of the government’s £145 million investment in e-infrastructure and will be an invaluable asset to business and universities,” said David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science. “It will drive growth and innovation, encourage inward investment in the UK and keep us at the very leading edge of science.”

Established by the e-Infrastructure South Consortium, which includes the Universities of Oxford, Bristol, and Southampton and University College London, the Center for Innovation in High Performance Computing provides the infrastructure for the development of scientific and engineering applications, and will enable the training of HPC scientists and engineers.

The center’s new GPU-accelerated Emerald supercomputer and other computing systems were funded as part of a £3.7 million ($5.8 million USD) grant from the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Oxford Named CUDA Center of Excellence
NVIDIA also announced that it has named the University of Oxford a CUDA Center of Excellence (CCOE) in recognition of its ongoing work in parallel computing research and education using NVIDIA GPUs and the NVIDIA CUDA® parallel programming environment.

A world leader in genetics, mathematics, scientific computing, and the physical and life sciences, Oxford joins 18 elite institutions that have demonstrated a unique vision for improving the technology and application of parallel computing, and are empowering academics and scientists to conduct world-changing research.

As a CUDA Center of Excellence, Oxford will utilize equipment and grants provided by NVIDIA to support a number of research and academic programs across its mathematics, physical and life sciences divisions, including:

  • Astrophysics – real-time pulsar detection application for the forthcoming Square Kilometre Array Project to deploy the world’s most powerful radio telescope
  • Bioinformatics – analysis and statistical modeling of whole-genome sequencing data
  • Chemistry – molecular dynamics simulations of key DNA nanotechnology mechanisms

“The CUDA Center of Excellence award reflects Oxford’s strength in scientific computing, as well as the success of OeRC in developing and championing new approaches to computing, while working with application specialists across the university to bring these benefits to their research,” said Professor Anne Trefethen, chief information officer at the University of Oxford. “With NVIDIA’s support, we can continue to enhance our undergraduate projects and summer bursaries focused on GPU computing, and develop new programs to reach larger numbers of researchers and students.”
The CUDA Center of Excellence program recognizes, rewards and fosters collaboration with leading institutions at the forefront of parallel computing research. For more information, visit the NVIDIA CUDA Center of Excellence program website.