HECToR launch : another free lunch ?

January 14, 2008

Well, in today’s comments someone accused me of being on an ego trip cos I was brown nosing with Mason, Wade, Efstathiou, Rowan-Robinson et al at the “ad hoc” meeting. So maybe I shouldn’t mention having a free lunch today, listening to the Chancellor of the Exchequer tell us that Science is safe in his hands, and chatting to O’Nions over a glass of champagne ? Except of course I didn’t get within twelve feet of that nice Mr Darling, and O’Nions pretended to know who I was but actually couldn’t quite remember. I only mention this to point out the contrast with the ad hoc meeting… everybody at the ad hoc meeting was someone I’ve known for twenty years or more, and have sunk many pints with, so it didn’t exactly feel like an ego trip… Old Boys Club, maybe …

So why was I hobnobbing with the big boys today ? It was the official opening of HECToR, the new national supercomputer, paid for by EPSRC but run by the University of Edinburgh. Its the seventeenth most powerful computer in the world apparently. If you like lists, check out www.top500.org. Its a Cray XT5, and I finally got to see the beast today. Rows of black boxes with identical racks of identical boards. One of the Crayons showed us the inside of a board. This was weird cos it looked just like the inside of my PC. Opteron CPUs and a bunch of DIMMS. Oh and some super fast interconnect ..

Meanwhile, the IOP and RAS have released their joint submission to the upcoming select committee. You can find it here.