[Press & Publications] THE GRAND SUPERCOMPUTER


October 1999

No 182

Professor Ian Halliday, Chief Executive of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), today (Thursday 14 October) formally opened an extremely powerful supercomputer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester.

The supercomputer, called GRAND, will be used for theoretical calculations in astronomy and planetary science. These include studies of matter falling into black holes, the death throes of pairs of neutron stars spiralling into each other, and the ways in which the Sun's activity affects the climates of the Earth and other planets.

GRAND represents an important stage in PPARC's strategy of making medium-sized high-performance computing resources readily available throughout the astronomy and planetary community. GRAND is a 24-CPU Silicon Graphics Origin 2000 machine, with shared-memory (SMP) architecture. It will serve a Leicester-led consortium of five theoretical astrophysics and two solar-terrestrial physics groups at the universities of Cambridge, Leeds, London, Newcastle, and Warwick. The Principal Investigator is Professor Andrew King, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Leicester.

Professor King said: "GRAND is far more powerful than any dedicated machine currently available to the participating groups, and will allow us to compete successfully at world level in many areas of astrophysics and planetary physics."

For the very largest calculations however, UK groups will still need competitive access to even bigger machines at the national facility level. A University of Leicester-led consortium of groups from 23 UK universities has recently put forward plans for a much larger (128 CPU) supercomputer for astrophysics calculations. This is currently being considered by the Joint Research Equipment Initiative.

NOTE TO NEWDSESKS: FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT PROFESSOR KING ON 0116 252 2072.

THERE IS A PHOTOCALL AT 3.35 PM ON THURSDAY OCTOBER 14 IN THE FOYER OF THE PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY DEPARTMENT, BENNETT BUILDING, UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER.
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Last updated: 14 October 1999 09:45
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