UK Research & Innovation has published a notice saying it will soon put out a tender for a new supercomputer to sit in the new supercomputing center at the Daresbury Lab campus in Halton, Cheshire.

“The Hartree Centre will be tendering for an accelerated HPC system, software, maintenance & support, and associated electrical and cooling installation works,” it said in the notice. “The system will support the Hartree Centre's HPC and AI workloads as well as providing a stepping-stone for its exascale ambitions, and be delivered into a newly built data center at the end of 2023.”

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The total budget for this project is £20 million ($23.7m) inclusive of VAT. Desired performance specifications were not published in this prior notice; the actual tender will be put out later this year.

Daresbury Laboratory was opened in 1962 as the Daresbury Nuclear Physics Laboratory. It carries out research in fields such as accelerator science, bio-medicine, physics, chemistry, materials, engineering, and computational science.

Approved late last year, the new £30 million ($36m) single-story Daresbury Lab supercomputing center will cover 33,000 sq ft (3,070 sqm); construction has started on the new building. The development is expected to replace an existing supercomputing center at the campus that was described as no longer fit for modern-day purposes.

The new supercomputing center is being built as part of the £210m ($252m) Hartree National Center for Digital Innovation (HNCDI), a collaborative program with IBM to help businesses gain skills, knowledge, and technical capability to adopt new digital technologies, such as supercomputing, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence.

The existing Hartree Centre, located at Daresbury Laboratory, is one of the UK’s only supercomputing centers dedicated to industry applications meaning that businesses can access specialist expertise and HPC that isn’t normally accessible outside of large-scale industries and academia.

The Hartree center houses the 4 petaflops Scafell Pike Bull Sequana X1000 and an Atos Quantum Learning Machine. It formerly hosted 1.4 teraflops IBM Blue Gene/Q Blue Joule supercomputer, before it was moved to the DiRAC facility at the Institute for Computational Cosmology at Durham University in 2016.

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