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Official ARCCA Launch

2nd - 4th June 2008

To celebrate reaching this milestone, a series of events were organised throughout the week to coincide with the launch, these included:

Official ARCCA Launch - Viriamu Jones Gallery, Main Building

The official launch of Advanced Research Computing at Cardiff (ARCCA) took place on Monday 2nd June, and was opened by the Rt. Hon. Rhodri Morgan AM, Wales' First Minister at 13:00. Key figures from the world of High Performance Computing, IT centres from other leading UK Universities, delegates from Bull as well as representatives from the French Embassy  attended the event, helping to make the day a memorable occasion for all involved.

The event itself started with a short video clip beamed onto an 81" plasma screen, created by the Media Resources Department, within Information Services - and will be available shortly on our website for those unable to make the launch event. Throughout the launch 3 plasma screens were running rolling presentations, show-casing the research undertaken at Cardiff University and the evolution of the ARCCA DataCentre. 

Launching the High Performance Computer at the University, Welsh Assembly Government First Minister, Rhodri Morgan said: “The developments in High Performance Computing brought about by ARCCA are already making huge differences in many areas of research. This puts Cardiff University at the forefront of computer-based research techniques in Wales and the UK, as well as internationally.”

The Right Honourable Rhodri Morgan AM, officially opening the new HPC Centre of Excellence at Cardiff University and speaking at the ARCCA launch, held on the 2nd June 2008 in the VJ Gallery in Main Building.

The Rt. Hon. Rhodri Morgan providing his ARCCA launch speech.

Didier Lamouche, Bull Chief Executive Officer, explained: “Being involved in this partnership with Cardiff University has enabled us to demonstrate the importance of utilising leading-edge IT resources to pursue ground-breaking research. This new supercomputer will support Cardiff’s growing reputation as one of the most innovative, ambitious and successful universities in the country and internationally.”

Didier Lamouche, Chairman and CEO of Bull Group, speaking at the Official ARCCA launch, held on the 2nd June 2008 in the VJ Gallery in Main Building, Cardiff University.

Didier Lamouche (Bull CEO) 

The Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, Dr David Grant, said: “The technical specifications of the Bull High Performance Computer are extremely impressive. We expect the research enabled by this computational power will be more impressive still. Computer modelling is becoming vital to our understanding of human biology and the development of new drugs. Simulation will bring major benefits in the sciences and engineering, and open up completely new research fields in the arts, humanities and social  sciences. The new Cardiff High Performance Computing Centre of Excellence will keep the University at the forefront of these exciting possibilities in all of its academic disciplines.”

Professor Martyn Guest, Director of ARCCA, explained: “ARCCA exists to deliver high-end computing service, resources and support to all researchers in all disciplines and Schools. The new  High Performance Computer will allow a wide variety of studies previously dismissed as impossible or impractical. We look forward to talking to academics from all fields about how ARCCA can help them achieve their research objectives.”

Martyn Guest, Director of Advanced Research Computing at Cardiff University, speaking at the Official ARCCA launch, held on the 2nd June 2008 in the VJ Gallery in Main Building.

Martyn Guest (ARCCA Director)

Finally to close the formal session, Wales' First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, officially unveiled the plaque to mark the Opening of the Cardiff High Performance Computing Centre of Excellence (co-funded by Bull Group & Cardiff University). The sign was produced by the Manufacturing Engineering Centre within the University.

The Rt. Hon. Rhodri Morgan unveils the Cardiff HPC Centre of Excellence sign assisted by Christine Kitchen (ARCCA Manager).

The Rt. Hon. Rhodri Morgan unveiling the ARCCA plaque, assisted by Christine Kitchen (ARCCA Manager).

Official Unveiling of the Cardiff HPC Centre of Excellence Plaque by the Rt. Hon. Rhodri Morgan AM on the 2nd June 2008. Pictured from Left to Right is Martyn Harrow (INSRV Director), Martyn Guest (ARCCA Director), David Grant (VC Cardiff University), Rt. Hon. Rhodri Morgan, Didier Lamouche (VP Bull)

From Left to Right: Martyn Harrow (Director, Information Services), Martyn Guest (Director, ARCCA), David Grant (Vice Chancellor, Cardiff University), Rt. Hon. Rhodri Morgan AM, Didier Lamouche (CEO, Bull Group).

Once the official ceremony duties where completed, the First Minister interacted with Cardiff University Researchers.

Professor Roger Falconer explaining to the First Minister the Modelling the Severn Estuary Barrage and the impact the ARCCA Supercomputer will have on enabling this research to be taken to the next stages.

Prof. Roger Falconer explaining the impact of the Severn Estuary Barrage to the First Minister.

Dr Huw Davies explaining (in Welsh) to the First Minister some of the research which is being undertaken in the School of Earth and Ocean Studies.

Dr J. Huw Davies (School of Earth and Ocean Studies) demonstrating the wider implications and impact of the research within the school (conducted in Welsh).


The Supercomputer 

ARCCA's High Performance Computer will support study in all areas of research, including the arts, humanities and social sciences. Cardiff Business School is already working with ARCCA on economic modelling, and the School of English, Communication and Philosophy on linguistics. 

PR Photograph of the ARCCA High Performance Computer supplied by Bull UK.

"Merlin" the ARCCA Supercomputer.

Merlin uses Intel® Xeon® Quad-core processors, with four cores to each chip. The system has approximately four terabytes (or four million megabytes) of memory and has just been measured as performing 20 trillion floating point operations a second (20 Teraflops). These results have yet to be officially ratified but would make it the most powerful supercomputer in a UK University dedicated to in-house research. It was funded with a Science Research Investment Funding (SRIF) grant from the Higher Education Funding Council Wales

The computer will not only be one of the most powerful at a British University, but also one of the greenest. Based in its own state-of-the-art data centre, it is housed in ten energy efficient water-cooled racks, saving around £30,000 a year on conventional air cooling systems.

Cardiff’s partnership with Bull will continue with the creation of the Cardiff High Performance Computing Centre of Excellence, based around the new computer. The Centre will extend the scope and quality of computer-based research support and open up a range of new research frontiers.