In this interview, part of our series commissioned by Dell Technologies, we spoke with Simon Atack, HPC Team Leader at the University of Bristol’s Advanced Computing Research Center in the UK, where he works for eight years.
The center supports approximately 2,000 users and has an extensive HPC infrastructure engaged in a range of scientific fields, including genomics, molecular dynamics, and terrestrial and environmental simulation. Much of this work runs on supercomputing technology from Dell Technologies, overseen by Atacks.
Here he talks about the center’s recent upgrades, including the integration of Dell ME4 and ME5 storage arrays, new Dell servers powered by AMD processors and, for AI workloads, Dell PowerEdge XE8545 powered servers. by AMD EPYC processors and NVIDIA A100 GPUs. And he’s looking forward to the next installment of Dell HPC equipment from the center.
Atack also said some Dell hardware at the center dated back to 2013 – “It was in continuous use,” he said, “it just stopped working.”
Atack noted that Bristol’s user community ranges from freshmen and sophomores to post-docs with advanced scientific computing workloads. The diversity of users means that extensive support is required from center staff and from Dell. “There’s no typical user with typical needs here,” Atack said. “The typical does not exist.”