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Bull signs strategic HPC agreement with University of Liverpool

Posted on 25 January 2013 by Pierre Picard

Highlighting its focus on driving the rapid growth of its High-Performance Computing (HPC) business, Bull has signed a strategic alliance deal, valued at around £800,000, with the University of Liverpool. Under the terms of the deal, which incorporates a five year partnership and support agreement, Bull will implement an integrated 40 Teraflops HPC system for the University based around its own bullx™ blade hardware and bullx supercomputer software suite.

The University of Liverpool has established a significant group of HPC users who increasingly rely on access to a centrally housed cluster resource. The current clusters have reached ‘end of life’ and therefore the University wants to invest in a replacement. At the same time, it has a longer-term goal to ensure that the quality and profile of HPC-based research it is undertaking is well-served by the investment made. 

The University’s decision to choose Bull for this project was based partly on breadth of HPC expertise (Bull employs 600 HPC professionals in Europe) and partly on Bull’s independent approach. Bull builds and designs all of its own HPC solutions and delivers these directly to the customer. As a primary manufacturer and supplier, it also always contracts directly with HPC customers. 

According to Cliff Addison, Manager Advanced Research Computing, University of Liverpool, “Bull was attractive to us because it could provide us not only with high-quality HPC solutions but critically also access to extensive expertise and new thinking in HPC; ongoing guidance in implementing and running the solutions and the ability to test out the latest technologies at its industry-leading benchmarking facility.”

“In addition, we were impressed with Bull’s understanding of the academic community and its dedication to helping further the university’s research objectives,” Addison continues. “We also liked Bull’s specific knowledge of and commitment to Open Source software and its willingness to contribute proactively to the engagement process. All of this together adds significant value to the equipment solution Bull provides.”

“The world’s leading economies are increasingly recognising the importance of high-performance computing in driving faster, more efficient design and ultimately competitive edge,” says Andrew Carr, CEO Bull UK & Ireland. “European governments, businesses, centres of research and academia like the University of Liverpool are increasingly catching up with their counterparts in the US in this respect. Bull is proud to be in the vanguard of this new focus on HPC excellence.”    

Built on Intel’s new ‘Sandy Bridge’, Bull’s solution for the University has the capability to deliver stable and impressive performance over a range of research applications.

All of the main compute blades in the Bull implementation are concentrated into a pair of water cooled racks thereby minimising space and cooling infrastructure demands. The in-built Infiniband fabric allows for rapid data transfer and supports job runs ranging from throughput to highly scalable; utilisation can therefore  be expected to be high which given the inherent stability, resilience and comprehensive support offered will maximise ‘up time’ and therefore  deliver a superior return on investment (‘ROI’).

About the University of Liverpool

Founded in 1881, the University of Liverpool has a history of pioneering education and research. Today it is a principal centre of excellence in many disciplines, including engineering, medicine, dentistry, business and law – as it strives to prepare its students for the challenges of the 21st century. As one of the UK’s top 24 research-led universities, the University of Liverpool is furthering knowledge with strategic partners worldwide. It is proud to be one of the UK’s most inclusive universities, welcoming students from a wide variety of backgrounds and from over 100 countries around the world.

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