A £3.2m supercomputer, one of the most powerful in the UK, has been installed at the University of Southampton. The Iridis4 has 12,200 processors, each of which can perform a trillion calculations per second, a measurement referred to as a "teraflop". The IBM machine also has a million gigabytes of disk space and 50 terabytes of memory.
Home computers generally have between 500GB and 2TB of disc space and about 4GB to 6GB of memory. There are 1,024 gigabytes in a terabyte. The university said the new machine would allow academics to work on more projects at faster speeds. Pro vice-chancellor Prof Philip Nelson said, "Staying ahead of the game in high performance computing [HPC] is vital to help the university stay competitive. Simulation and computation enabled by HPC are recognised globally as the third pillar of modern research and this investment will ensure we remain world leaders in this field."
Iridis4 will be used for a range of research, including engineering, archaeology and medicine, as well as computer science. The world's most powerful computer is China's Tianhe-2, which can perform 33,860 trillion calculations per second. The university said its new computer ranked among the top 10 in England. The most powerful is at the Science and Technology Facilities Council in Warrington. Others are based at the University of Edinburgh, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and the UK Meteorological Office.