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March 24, 2015

Safety first as Trident testers sign new supercomputer

Atomic Weapons Establishment will use computer in modelling processes.

By Alexander Sword

The UK Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) has awarded a new contract to SGI, under which it will install SGI ICE XA systems in its new supercomputer.

The Trident supplier will use SGI’s latest sixth generation computing system in its modelling processes to verify the safety and reliability of nuclear warheads.

The new systems increase energy efficiency and flexible packaging, featuring SGI’s E-Cell warm water cooling technology and its optional flexible extension capabilities. It has been designed to run complex workloads at petaflop speeds.

SGI will also provide extensive services, including on-site customer support, full project management and an extensive installation team.

Under the terms of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, signatories cannot employ any tests that produce any nuclear yield and must therefore use scientific modelling. The capacity for high-powered computing is hugely important in these tests.

"High performance computing is a critical aspect of AWE, underpinning the vast majority of our science-based program, so we’re continually looking for ways to enhance and support the work conducted," said Paul Tomlinson, Head of High Performance Computing at AWE.

He continued: "Following the successful installation of our last supercomputing system from SGI, we turned to the company once again to help us take the next step in advancing our high performance computing capabilities.

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"We’re confident that with the purchase and eventual installation of the new ICE XA systems it will enable us to quickly advance research and development so that we can continue to underwrite the safety and effectiveness of the Trident warhead in the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty era."

"We are honoured that AWE has once again selected an SGI solution to meet their demanding requirements for high performance computing technologies and services," said Jorge Titinger, President and CEO of SGI. "We have developed a longstanding and collaborative partnership with AWE."

He concluded: "A fundamental component of our relationship with AWE is based on our world-class services capabilities, which truly differentiate SGI from our competition. We look forward to once again working in very close partnership with the onsite AWE team to deliver our new ICE™ XA systems."

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