Big Data for Business: Dell and Intel Power Cambridge HPC Solution Centre Expansion

By Annifer Jackson

Big data is being taken to a new level in order to drive vital academic and industrial research, allowing businesses to take advantage of immense computing power in a cost-effective manner.

Dell, Intel and the University of Cambridge (UoC) have announced details of its increased European HPC (High Performance Computing) solution centre research work. The Cambridge HPC Solution Centre aims to provide answers to challenges facing the HPC community and feed the results back into the wider research community. 

Thanks to the centre, automotive partners are investigating new ways to access state of the art computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems via remote visualization, astronomers are looking back at the beginning of the universe and medics are exploring the genetic analysis of tens of thousands of disease patients.

READ MORE ON DELL: Powering the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games with Dell

Part of the project’s growth includes a new state-of-the-art data centre venue, containing 96 cabinets and cutting-edge cooling systems which run at 15 percent of the power output cost (1.15 PUE).

Cambridge has a rich computing history. The EDSCA 1, the first modern computer, was in operation from 1949, and such a legacy is evident today with the number of tech companies present in the surrounding business parks. There are 1,535 technology businesses in the vicinity of Cambridge with combined revenues of £13 billion and some 57,000 staff.

For the last four years, Dell and UoC have been co-running the HPC Solution Centre in an effort to provide solutions to real world problems by increasing the effectiveness of the HPC and data platforms used in the research community.

To enable the community to take further advantage of new research discoveries, UoC and Dell have now been joined by Intel to create an additional focus on large scale data centric HPC, data analytics and multi-tenanted cloud HPC provision.

Paul Calleja, head of HPC services, UoC, said: “The three-way collaboration strengthens the HPC centre. By creating a larger mass of skills and resources, we are able to focus on the emerging problems of data-centric HPC, data analytics and cloud based research computing services. We’re able to tackle the HPC challenges identified by the community and resolve real-world issues.”

Potential business sectors set to benefit from the work of the HPC Solutions Centre include retail, manufacturing, healthcare, engineering and marketing. Indeed nearly all business can benefit greatly from being able to maximise its use of data in a way that is affordable and manageable.


Tony Parkinson, vice president, enterprise solutions, Dell EMEA, added: “By actively forging collaboration between the HPC community, technology vendors and the UoC, we want to drive market-ready solutions by drawing on the wide-ranging skills and experience that both technology developers and end-users offer. Through our experience running the HPC centre with UoC, we’ve seen the potential to expand the centre and dive into new projects, like Data Analytics, faster with Intel.”

Gerald Grattoni, director, enterprise solutions sales, Intel EMEA, said: “There’s a rapid emergence of big-data workloads and a transition from compute bound problems to data problems. There needs to be an emphasis on data management and analytics to expand research capability.”  

By being able to handle huge quantities of data in a way which is able to convert it into useful research and analytics for researchers and businesses, the Cambridge HPC Solutions Centre could help unlock vital economic potential in the UK and beyond. 

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