Sunday, 20th September 2020

Atos partners with University of Oxford on largest AI supercomputer in the UK

Atos has signed a four-year contract worth £5 million with the University of Oxford to deliver a new, state of the art, deep learning supercomputer built on the NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD™ architecture, which will enable UK academics and industry to drive forward scientific discoveries and innovation in machine learning and artificial intelligence, as part of the JADE2 project.

The largest AI-focused supercomputer in the UK with over 500 NVIDIA GPUs, this high-performance system is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and aims to build on the success of the current JADE(Joint Academic Data Science Endeavour) facility - a national resource providing advanced GPU computing facilities to world-leading AI and machine learning experts from a consortium of eight UK universities and the Alan Turing Institute.

The JADE2 supercomputer is built on NVIDIA DGX systems, and uses the DDN A3I storage solution. It will more than triple the capacity of the original JADE machine and provide increased computing capabilities to a wider consortium of over twenty universities and the Turing Institute, helping to meet the level of demand for AI-focused facilities created as a result of the success of the JADE resource.

Professor Wes Armour at the University of Oxford said: “The successful delivery of JADE has created more demand among UK researchers and industry for powerful computing facilities which can accommodate high end, data intensive AI workloads. Building on the success of the JADE collaboration with Atos, and by significantly expanding the JADE consortium’s computing capacity, the new Deep Learning supercomputer supplied by Atos will allow us to meet this demand and help many institutions to make some potentially ground-breaking discoveries. It will cement JADE’s status as the de facto national computing facility for academic AI research.” Alison Kennedy, Director, STFC Hartree Centreadded: “We are pleased that the delivery and hosting of this cutting-edge JADE-2 hardware and the resultant increase in capability will support the development and expansion of research computing skills across industry and academia. This aligns directly with the Hartree Centre’s mission and we are delighted to continue the collaboration with Atos and Oxford University which builds upon the previous success of JADE.” Agnès Boudot, Senior Vice President, Head of HPC & Quantum at Atos, concluded: We are proud to be working with the University of Oxford on the delivery of JADE2, which will provide researchers and industry with more computing power to enable new scientific breakthroughs and innovation in machine learning and AI. We believe this high-performance system, coupled with our expertise, will help the UK to address key AI and machine learning challenges, while supporting the UK’s ambition to be a world-leader in these areas.”

The DGX SuperPOD system will comprise a cluster of 63 DGX nodes, having 504 NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs in total, interconnected with NVIDIA Mellanox InfiniBand networking, all being fed by DDN’s AI400 storage, making it the largest such system in the UK.

The system is to be hosted at the STFC Hartree Centre in Daresbury, near Warrington, UK.

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