UK's fastest supercomputer unveiled

Archer, the supercomputer

Scientists have unveiled a new supercomputer that is capable of more than a million billion calculations every second and is the most powerful in the UK.

The ARCHER (Academic Research Computing High End Resource) was inaugurated at an event at the National Museum of Scotland this week.

ARCHER cost £43 million to build and is up to three and a half times fast than the HECTOR supercomputer that it replaces.

It will be used to process highly complex calculations and models, such as climate simulation, flow of air around aircraft and new material designs.

The system is owned by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It uses Cray XC30 hardware and Intel's Xeon E5-2600v2 processor.

It will be used in conjunction with one of the UK's largest data centres and, according to EPSRC, is housed in one of the greenest computing centres in the world.

Big data

Professor David Delpy, CEO of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, said, "[ARCHER] 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."

Support for the ARCHER will be provided by the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC) and the University of Edinburgh and the Daresbury Laboratory, a centre for scientific research based in Cheshire, UK.