Intel® Parallel Computing Center at the University of Cambridge

Principal Investigator:

Professor Paul Shellard.
Director, Stephen Hawking Centre for Theoretical Cosmology
University of Cambridge

Paul Shellard is Professor of Cosmology at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics in the University of Cambridge. He studied at the Universities of Sydney and Cambridge and he also held a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT in the Department of Physics. His primary research interest is to advance the confrontation between theories of the early universe and empirical cosmology, focusing especially on the primordial fluctuations which seeded the formation of large-scale structure. He is a Planck Scientist within the Planck satellite consortium which in 2013-15 provided and analysed high resolution maps of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Since 1997 he has coordinated oversight of COSMOS, the UK National Cosmology Supercomputer, which has been an essential tool for quantitative progress in theoretical cosmology.


The Intel® Parallel Computing Center (Intel® PCC) at Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) is focused to port, scale and optimize popularly used Climate Forecast System version2 (CFSv2) model on hybrid architecture based on Intel Xeon Phi™ coprocessor used in large scale production grade environments. The objective is to enhance the computational speed and accuracy of the model so as to gain accurate weather predictions well in advance.The COSMOS Intel® PCC is part of the Stephen Hawking Centre for Theoretical Cosmology (CTC) at the University of Cambridge. The Centre is also home to the COSMOS supercomputer with which Intel has a long history of collaboration since 2003. The latest joint venture is centred on the Xeon Phi and work underlying the present IPCC began well before these centres came into existence. We have a particular interest in complex workflows with simulation and data analysis pipelines which are best-suited to heterogeneous platforms.

The scientific interests of the COSMOS Intel® PCC align with those of the CTC in the following areas:

  1. Developing data analysis techniques and software pipelines to extract information from cosmological data sets, including the cosmic microwave background and galaxy surveys.
  2. Characterising the fundamental nature of inflation and the primordial perturbations from which the structure in our universe formed.
  3. Understanding the extreme universe, including violent phase transitions in the very early universe and the mergers of black holes with the gravitational waves they generate.

Our goal is to ensure that this important science program makes full use of new and emerging parallel computing platforms, especially the Intel Xeon Phi™ coprocessor and its future incarnations. To this effect, we have had considerable success porting and optimising our ”home-grown" scientific codes both to the many-core and the multi-core platform, taking advantage of the fact that almost all improvements in performance on the many-core side translate to improvements on the multi-core as well. With our Intel Xeon Phi™ coprocessor embedded within a large shared-memory SGI system, we are able to pursue a wide range of programming paradigms to accelerate development and optimisation of our codes, notably native Intel Xeon Phi™ coprocessor, native Intel Xeon®, and Intel Xeon Phi™ coprocessor offload.


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