UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced today [10 February] that a £30m supercomputer centre is now under construction at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory.
The new centre will form part of the Hartree Centre’s £210m Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation (HNCDI), which will provide a range of supercomputing artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum technologies to support the UK industry.
HNCDI is part of a £172m collaboration with IBM.
Procurement is reportedly underway for the new, more powerful, high performance computing systems to support the Hartree Centre’s expanding supercomputing and AI research applications, which will enable the centre to expand its capacity and offer more flexible and secure services to businesses.
The Hartree Centre anticipates that the first system to be installed in the new building will have a performance capability of between 80 to 100 petaflops (up to 100 trillion calculations per second), making the new system 20 to 25 times faster than the current platform.
What’s more, the new facility will contribute to Hartree Centre’s support of the UK industry’s commitments towards net zero, including the development of:
- more efficient manufacturing processes
- more efficient transport through better battery design
- more environmentally friendly personal care product design
- more energy-efficient logistics for distribution challenges
- a more sustainable design and build.
The entire design of the centre and the building process will aim to minimise carbon emissions and maximise efficiency, including compliance with the latest standards on energy consumption and a strong emphasis on replacing inefficient buildings and ageing computer hardware and introducing more efficient cooling systems.
Kate Royse, STFC’s professor and director of the Hartree Centre, said: “This is an incredibly exciting day for the Hartree Centre, and we are fully committed to providing an environment where UK science and businesses can be at the very forefront of global research and development in the very latest digital technologies.
“Providing access to technologies, such as AI and quantum computing, enables businesses to increase productivity and achieve success, to the benefit of our economy, both here in the north-west and nationally.”
Manchester-based Russell WBHO has been contracted to deliver the new supercomputing centre.