NVIDIA Accelerates World’s First TOP500 Academic Cloud-Native Supercomputer to Advance Research at Cambridge University

NVIDIA BlueField DPUs connected with NVIDIA HDR InfiniBand enable Cambridge University’s secured, multi-tenant supercomputer with breakthrough performance and security.
by Gilad Shainer

Scientific discovery powered by supercomputing has the potential to transform the world with research that benefits science, industry and society. A new open, cloud-native supercomputer at Cambridge University offers unrivaled performance that will enable researchers to pursue exploration like never before.

The Cambridge Service for Data Driven Discovery, or CSD3 for short, is a UK National Research Cloud and one of the world’s most powerful academic supercomputers. It’s hosted at the University of Cambridge and funded by UKRI via STFC DiRAC, STFC IRIS, EPSRC, MRC and UKAEA.

The site, home to the U.K.’s largest academic research cloud environment, is now being enhanced by a new 4-petaflops Dell-EMC system with NVIDIA A100 GPUs, NVIDIA BlueField DPUs and NVIDIA InfiniBand networking that will deliver secured, multi-tenant, bare-metal high performance computing AI and data analytics services for a broad cross section of the U.K. national research community. The CSD3 employs a new cloud-native supercomputing platform enabled by NVIDIA and a revolutionary cloud HPC software stack, called Scientific OpenStack, developed by the University of Cambridge and StackHPC with funding from the DiRAC HPC Facility and the IRIS Facility.

The CSD3 system is projected to deliver a 4 PFLOPS of performance at deployment, ranking it among the top 500 supercomputers in the world. The system uses NVIDIA GPUs and x86 CPUs to provide over 10 petaflops of total performance and it includes the U.K.’s fastest solid-state storage array based on the Dell/Cambridge data accelerator.

The CSD3 provides open and secure access for researchers aiming to tackle some of the world’s most challenging problems across diverse fields such as astrophysics, nuclear fusion power generation development and lifesaving clinical medicine applications. It will advance scientific exploration using converged simulation, AI and data analytics workflows that members of the research community can access more easily and securely without sacrificing application performance or slowing work.

NVIDIA DPUs, HDR InfiniBand Power Next-Generation Systems

CSD3 is enabled by the NVIDIA HDR 200G InfiniBand-connected BlueField-2 DPU to offload infrastructure management such as security policies and storage frameworks from the host while providing acceleration and isolation for workloads to maximize input/output performance.

“Providing an easy and secure way to access the immense computing power of CSD3 is crucial to ushering in a new generation of scientific exploration that serves both the scientific community and industry in the U.K.,“ said Paul Calleja, director of Research Computing Services at Cambridge University. “The extreme performance of NVIDIA InfiniBand, together with the offloading, isolation and acceleration of workloads provided by BlueField DPUs, combined with our ‘Scientific OpenStack’ has enabled Cambridge University to provide a world-class cloud-native supercomputer for driving research that will benefit all of humankind.”

Networking performance is further accelerated by NVIDIA HDR InfiniBand’s In-Network Computing engines, providing optimal bare-metal performance, while natively supporting multi-node tenant isolation.  CSD3 also takes advantage of the latest-generation of Dell-EMC PowerEdge portfolio, with Dell EMC PowerEdge C6520 and PowerEdge XE8545 servers both optimized for data-intensive and AI workloads.

CSD3 is expected to be operational later this year. Learn more about CSD3.