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Fujitsu returns to UK supercomputing

The HPC Wales project gets a boost as Fujitsu signs up to provide the initiative's distributed grid.

Wales

Fujitsu has announced its return to the UK high performance computing (HPC) market having secured a 15 million deal.

As part of an agreement with HPC Wales, an initiative designed to help the country with its supercomputing efforts, Fujitsu will provide a distributed grid with two primary hubs in Cardiff and Pembroke Dock.

Fujitsu and HPC Wales will also carry out research together, exploring the use of supercomputers in key industries such as advanced materials, manufacturing and the low-carbon sector.

The Japanese tech giant believes fresh opportunities lie in the UK HPC segment, not just in the public sector but in the private sphere as well.

HPC Wales is expected to bring in an extra 22.8 million to the Welsh economy over 10 years, as well as create more than 400 jobs.

Joe Duran, Fujitsu's account director for HPC Wales, said the project would help a wide range of companies access IT infrastructure with considerable "horsepower."

According to Duran, the HPC Wales team expected the project to last for the next 10 to 20 years.

"They see having research-centric development of IT and intelligent society as critical to growth over an extended period of time," Duran told IT PRO.

"I would say this is the embryonic stage of a much, much bigger programme."

The initiative was announced in mid-2010, although the project was effectively given the go-ahead in late 2009 after receiving funding from a variety of bodies, including 10 million from the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

HPC Wales will consist of 1,400 nodes across eight linked sites, providing a combined performance of 190 teraflops.

Other tech giants taking part in the project include Microsoft, Cisco and Symantec.

Duran predicted similar collaborative work would appear across the world, but claimed the Welsh programme remained the most ambitious project to date.

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