Sci-Tech Daresbury

High performance computing

Sci-Tech Daresbury is home to the UK’s fastest supercomputer with the performance of 1.4 Petaflops (equivalent to around one million iPods)

High performance computing (HPC) or ‘supercomputing’ can deliver incredible benefits and provide game-changing opportunities for industrial, government, academic and research organisations. It is predicted that successful exploitation of HPC could generate up to £25 billion each year for the UK economy.

HPC can tackle complex problems by processing, analysing and interpreting huge datasets and providing ultra-powerful modelling and simulation capabilities. It is being used to enable product and service innovation and to address ‘grand challenges’ such as climate prediction and disease detection.

The capabilities available at Sci-Tech Daresbury through STFC’s Hartree Centre, Scientific Computing Department and the Virtual Engineering Centre enable organisations of every type and size across a wide range of sectors to harness the power and potential of cutting-edge high performance computing.

Expertise includes:

  • Data management, storage and network products and services – distributed computing and data services including the UK’s largest general-purpose graphics processing unit (GPGPU) cluster at Harwell Oxford, providing outstanding facilities dedicated to faster data access and data management and the long-term preservation of digital data on the STFC data archive
  • Collecting data and metadata from scientific facilities and making this data available for further analysis by collaborators through grid or cloud computing resources
  • Software development: harnessing world-class supercomputing expertise/infrastructure to design, test and optimise cutting-edge code
  • Access to software codes – a comprehensive suite of community and commercial science and engineering simulation codes in materials, life-science, engineering and environmental modelling applications
  • Simulation and modelling facilities- to test concepts and solve problems using state of the art facilities
  • Visualisation – state-of-the-art interactive, 3D immersive visualisation suites, including a 150 seat lecture theatre with stereo capabilities and an eight projector 120 degree surround visualisation system
  • Technology development, integration and exploitation through the development of bespoke virtual prototypes and 3D immersive environments
  • HPC on-demand: access resources on a one off or regular basis to drive innovation, productivity and competitiveness
  • Collaboration: propelling fundamental and applied research to new heights utilising agenda-setting capabilities; supporting to organisations in accelerating product and service development
  • Training and education: enhancing understanding of leading-edge computing technologies and the benefits of harnessing them


The key organisations with high performance computing capabilities at Sci-Tech Daresbury are:

STFC Scientific Computing Department
STFC’s Scientific Computing Department provides large scale HPC facilities, computing data services and infrastructure at both Daresbury Laboratory and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

The department includes world leading experts in a number of fields including systems administration and hosting of systems, data services, applications development (in Biology and Life Science, Engineering and Environment, Computational Physics and Computational Chemistry) and cross-cutting technologies including parallelisation, optimisation and porting, numerical analysis, software engineering and visualisation.

The Department has 180 staff across Sci-Tech Daresbury and its sister campus Harwell Oxford, providing seamless access to expertise across both locations.

STFC Hartree Centre
STFC’s Hartree Centre focuses on bringing together the UK’s foremost facility dedicated to high performance computing teamed with world renowned experience and expertise.

A Research Collaboratory in association with IBM and part of STFC’s Scientific Computing Department, the Hartree Centre is home to Blue Joule: the UK’s number one supercomputer, the world’s largest dedicated to software development and capable of over a thousand trillion calculations per second.

A result of £37.5m investment, as part of the government’s £145m e-Infrastructure initiative, the aim of the centre is to enable new collaborations between industry, academia, and Government to develop multi-disciplinary projects that will promote UK economic growth, with particular emphasis on the grand challenge areas facing the UK.

Virtual Engineering Centre
The Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) works to support the Northwest aerospace sector and wider industry by providing a focal point for leading and emergent virtual engineering technology, research and expertise.

A partnership between the University of Liverpool and STFC, the VEC is located at Daresbury Laboratory and combines in-house multi-disciplinary and partner expertise with emerging technologies to enhance customer capabilities. Through its partnership with the Hartree Centre, the VEC offers an exemplar in the industrial exploitation of science and technology infrastructure.

For more information about campus capabilities in high performance computing please contact:

Michael Gleaves, Hartree Centre Head of Business Development
T: 01925 603710