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Viking 2 Sets Sail: Enhancing Research with Sustainable Supercomputing

The University of York has upgraded its High-Performance Computing (HPC) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) cluster, now remotely hosted in the renewable energy-powered EcoDataCenter in Sweden. 

The Alces Flight Team was delighted to attend the launch of the University of York’s new HPC/AI cluster, “Viking 2”, on 24th May at the Institute for Safe Autonomy (ISA) building on campus. This venue was intentionally chosen for its sustainable construction and its focus on collaborative research that transcends traditional academic boundaries. The University of York continues to inspire innovation and explore new technologies to benefit society and address global challenges. 

“ISA is home to over 100 independent experts from disciplines including Physics, Engineering, Quantum Communications, Politics, and Law, who are working across sectors to ensure a safety-critical approach to the design, development, and deployment of autonomous systems.”

Dr. Miles Elsden, Director of the Institute for Safe Autonomy.

Viking 2 is a large Linux cluster featuring over sixty Nvidia A- and H-series GPUs, over 12,000 AMD EPYC CPU cores, Cornelis High Performance Interconnect and a 2PB multi-tier Lustre parallel filesystem with 2PB of Dell PowerScale persistent storage. The cluster is configured for both traditional HPC batch jobs and next-generation cloud workloads with private-cloud and object-storage capabilities. Built and managed by Alces Flight alongside the University of York’s Research IT team, Viking 2 aims to make research more accessible and sustainable for all researchers and students. By being hosted at EcoDataCenter – a pioneer in sustainable data centres – the University of York is furthering its commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions on campus by 2030 and off campus by 2050. The university is embedding sustainability into its core functions of teaching and research, setting goals for reduced consumption, improved health and wellbeing, and strategic partnerships. 

The launch event commenced with warm welcomes from Prof. Matt Probert and Tyrrell Basson, who outlined the diverse range of projects planned for Viking 2. This was followed by a presentation from John Wervnik, CMO of EcoDataCenter, who showcased the facility hosting Viking 2 and its innovative heath capture and reuse features. EcoDataCenter, located in Sweden, operates on 100% renewable energy – 75% from hydropower and 25% from wind power – and is the world’s first data centre constructed from wood. 

Following Wervinik’s presentation, a series of lightning talks were delivered by researchers currently using Viking 2. Topics included Cryo-electron microscope (cryo-EM), Ancient DNA analysis in the history of Italian winemaking, and Pipelines as a Service, highlighting the intersection of transitional and emerging fields in HPC, AI and ML. 

The event concluded with a light reception, attended by new cluster users as well as University of York faculty and staff who had worked tirelessly to ensure the project’s success. For more information, contact us and explore our success stories here.

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