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July 2006
Business cases

• National Oceanographic Centre (United Kingdom)
• Registrar of the Paris Commercial Court (France)

• Local Authorities (Saxony, Germany)
T-T Electric (France)

National Oceanographic Centre boosts processing power by 60% with Bull

The National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS), one of the top five oceanographic research institutes in the world, has increased its number of High Performance Computing (HPC) processors with the purchase of three NovaScale systems with 40 processors from Bull.
The NOCS uses its HPC capacity to monitor and model processes in the deep sea. Jointly owned by the Natural Environmental Research Council and the University of Southampton, the NOCS supports more than 450 scientists and 600 students as they research local, national and international projects that help to monitor and predict climate change.

Vic Cornell, IT systems architect for the NOCS, said: “Our researchers model trends and changes in ocean currents. A single time step in an ocean model can represent 10-12GB of data as we model with lat-long grid-points at intervals of 15 miles in three-dimensions; that’s no mean feat when you consider that the Pacific Ocean alone covers over a third of the Earth’s surface. Our local mass store is in itself, 100TB, so we need access to very large processing capabilities. This is why we turned to Bull.”

This investment from the NOCS will bring its total number of Bull NovaScale processors to 96, configured into two large 32 CPU SMP systems and eight four-way SMP systems.

Cornell said: “Our initial investment in Bull NovaScale servers, made three years ago, provided us with a solution that has proved flexible, efficient and popular. The team at Bull has stayed close to us and its support services have been excellent with engineers on site in a matter of hours whenever we have needed them. Bull is the HPC company that really understands us. When we came to upscale our processing environment, Bull was the obvious choice to return to.

Mike Dunk, CEO, Bull UK & Ireland, said: “Bull is proud to support a world-class ocean modelling centre such as the NOCS – especially given the importance of climate change to today’s world. We are pleased to be able to offer the NOCS another 40 processors and to continue to support the organization.

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