Intel® Parallel Computing Center at ICHEC

Published:02/14/2014   Last Updated:10/20/2017

Principal Investigator:

Dr Michael Lysaght, Head of Novel Technologies, Irish Centre for High End Computing (ICHEC)


The Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC) is the national High-Performance Computing Centre for Ireland with offices located both in Dublin and Galway and is hosted by the National University of Ireland, Galway. ICHEC operates the national HPC service providing compute resources and software expertise for the research communities across all the main science disciplines through collaborative partnerships and programmes of education and outreach. Since 2010, ICHEC has also developed an active industry engagement programme working on a consultancy basis in areas as varied as financial services, oil & gas, data analytics and renewable energy.

Phase I of the Intel® Parallel Computing Center (Intel® PCC) at ICHEC will focus on enabling three separate software packages, with relevance to Molecular Dynamics, Meteorology and Analytics, respectively, on Intel Xeon Phi platform.

Molecular Dynamics: DL_POLY_4 is a general-purpose classical molecular dynamics (MD) simulation application developed at the STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory. The package is used to model the atomistic evolution of the full spectrum of models commonly employed in the materials science, solid-state chemistry, biological simulation and soft condensed-matter communities. Using MPI and OpenMP, ICHEC aims to enable and optimize a wide range of functionalities within DL_POLY_4 with the particular goal of accelerating discovery in areas of materials science that have been identified as national research priority areas.

Meteorology: HARMONIE is a regional weather forecast model developed and used operationally for short-range forecasts by the HIRLAM consortium of mostly northern-European countries, including Ireland (see There is an insatiable demand from this community for better HPC performance without sacrificing code portability and transparency. ICHEC aims to harness the parallelism of Intel’s new Intel Xeon Phi platform to accelerate HARMONIE in order to provide tangible operational benefits such as higher-resolution forecasts in shorter run-times. At the same time, any changes made to HARMONIE should be minimally disruptive, and be sustainable over future versions of HARMONIE as well as future versions of Xeon Phi hardware. Here ICHEC is building on over six years of experience of working closely with Ireland’s national meteorology agency, Met Éireann, who use ICHEC’s latest HPC system Fionn.

Analytics: Data analytics is broadly recognised as a valuable tool for civil society and industry alike, for example it was clearly identified in the Irish Government's Action Plan for Jobs 2013. In this context the R language is becoming more widely used for increasingly challenging computational tasks. ICHEC's role involves identifying key use-cases and working with users and the R community to ensure that it can best exploit the computational power offered by the Xeon Phi platform.

"We are delighted to partner with Intel on enabling widely-used scientific and technical computing software on the new Xeon Phi platform" said Dr. Michael Lysaght, head of the Novel Technologies activity at ICHEC. "The outcome of this ambitious programme will be accelerated software solutions in areas of national importance including materials science, weather forecasting and data analytics"


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