Gemstone to power National Nuclear Laboratory

15 August 2008

The UK's National Nuclear Laboratory only got the official go-ahead last month but can already boast a High Performance Computing Cluster (HPCC) known as Gemstone to create and integrate 4D computer models.
 

NNL Central Lab 
The UK's National Nuclear Laboratory
The bespoke design, implementation, configuration and management of the entire HPCC is provided by OCF plc. Using Gemstone, NNL can now create and integrate up to 7 different 4D computer based models, such as ground water flow or aerial dispersion modelling over time (time being the fourth dimension), to produce a single set of results for customers.
 

OCF said that Gemstone also enables NNL to provide a single integrated set of results to its customers in just 5 days, a decrease from up to 4 weeks if 4D models are processed in series.
 

The HPCC solution is built on IBM System x Server hardware and uses software from both IBM and Cluster Resources Inc to provide a powerful computer system. The HPCC has 56 IBM System x3550 Servers with Intel Woodcrest processors and 10 IBM System x3455 Servers with AMD Opteron processors, over 600Gb of physical memory and a 16 TB Storage Area Network.
 

NNL's customers include Sellafield Ltd, British Energy, the Ministry of Defence, UKAEA, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), VT Nuclear, and the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).
 

Mark Bankhead, project leader at NNL said: "Our existing highly skilled workforce combined with our new exceptional HPCC facility enables us to offer unique products and services." He added, "Ultimately, we are putting in place tools to support our customers as they ramp-up activity to meet the UK’s new renewed focus on nuclear power."
 

The UK's NNL is to be an international "centre of excellence," John Hutton, business and enterprise minister, said last month. It is to be a main part of a regional regeneration project for West Cumbria. The NNL is to be based around the skills and technology developed by Nexia Solutions, including facilities at the British Technology Centre.
 

Strategically owned by the UK government, the NNL is to be run as an independent commercial operation, managed by a commercial organisation to be chosen following a competition set to end in spring 2009. It will be composed of four main components: a central laboratory based at Sellafield, with other laboratories at Windscale, Workington and Springfields.
 

Based in Sheffield, UK, OCF designs, integrates and supports High Performance Computing (HPC), Visualisation (HPV) and Data Storage solutions. The company - which holds IBM Premier Partner status - says it provides solutions for over 38 (21%) of the UK’s 176 universities, higher education institutes and research councils.
 

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