Major Annoucement : ARCHER Extension

Monday 21st May 2018

EPSRC is committed to investing in high performance computing to enable our research communities to deliver world-leading science.

We have, over the last 5 years, supported and maintained the Cray XC30 machine and the support services, including the eCSE programme and the user helpdesk. We know that, together, these have been an important part of the UK's e-infrastructure and been well-used by you, the user communities. In total, we have invested over £60m in the hardware, infrastructure, training and services over the last 5 years. The return on that investment has been the scientific discoveries, impacts, outputs, endeavours and phenomenal growth of the importance of HPC in scientific research.

As we look to the successor to ARCHER, we have been engaging with users and experts to understand the full scientific and technical requirements in order to build a comprehensive specification. This specification has been developed to provide a service fit for the future needs of the scientific community and is dependent on the best technologies available at the time from HPC suppliers and funding decisions being made following a robust business process. Based on the current technology roadmap and funding decision timescales we are unable to commit to a new ARCHER service when the current machine comes to the end of its contracted lifetime in October 2018. Therefore, we have decided to continue the current ARCHER service without interruption until late 2019, when we expect to have the new machine ready for service.

EPSRC recognises that scientific need for HPC does not stand still and this could lead to a loss of capacity over time. The Tier 2 HPC centres are able to take up some of this capacity and we hope that projects can take advantage of these exciting and innovative platforms.

ARCHER will continue to be maintained, but there may be a lessening of non-critical upgrades and improvements. We do not imagine that this will severely affect users codes, nor their ability to continue with their scientific research programmes. However, you may notice a slight increase in the number of maintenance periods when the machine or elements of the machine are unavailable. We hope you will bear with us as we keep ARCHER running beyond its expected lifetime.

Once again, EPSRC is committed to procuring the successor to ARCHER and based on current plans we expect to progress this in 2019. This will enable you, the users, to take advantage of a greatly increased compute power and capacity for your research. Watch our website for updates as the project progresses.

The UKRI-EPSRC High Performance Computing Team.