The University of Southampton

Southampton supercomputer to crunch complex computations

Published: 9 December 2009

The Southampton supercomputer, which will go live next month (January 2010), will enable highly complex computations in fields ranging from cancer research to climate change to socio-economic modelling.

The new supercomputer, one of the fastest in the world, built using IBM iDataPlex server technology and capable of over 74 trillion calculations per second, will enable the University’s first cohort of PhD students within the Institute for Complex Systems Simulation (ICSS) to do a whole host of simulations which have never been possible before.

This year, the ICSS welcomed its first 21 PhD students and is now in the process of recruiting its second cohort.

‘What strikes me about our students is their quality and the diversity of their interests,’ said Dr Seth Bullock from the SENSe group in the School of Electronics and Computer Science, who is a Director of the ICSS.

Current students are set to use the new supercomputer to carry out simulations ranging from synthetic biology and neuroscience, through transportation and power networks, to glaciation and ocean processes, with one-third of them modelling some kind of evolutionary, ecological or environmental scenario.

The second cohort of ICSS PhD students is expected to be similarly diverse, and will tackle a newly expanded set of research domains, including socio-economic modelling of business, finance, and society.

“We want to help students tackle modelling problems with relevance to the real social world,” said Dr Bullock. “We are also seeing increasing interest in bionanotechnology as researchers look towards the construction of molecular machines and improved understanding of how drugs interact with living systems. The Southampton supercomputer will enable us to build and explore new models of these kinds of complex system.”

For further information contact Joyce Lewis; tel.+44(0)23 8059 5453.

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