Safeguarding a supercomputer

18 Jul Safeguarding a supercomputer

THE UNIVERSITY OF Edinburgh is home to the most powerful supercomputer in the UK. The £43m Advanced Research Computing High End Resource (ARCHER) system is capable of more than one thousand trillion calculations every second and can carry out complex computations which provide high performance support for multiple research and industry projects in the UK.

Providing complete fire protection and detection for such a valuable asset is vital. however not without its challenges. The team at Automatic Protection Ltd (APL), an authorised HYGOOD distributor specialising in automatic fire suppression and extinguishing systems, encountered this when selecting the most suitable fire suppression solution for the ARCHER system.

APL faced difficult challenges during the installation phase of the project, as the datacentre room was equipped with heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units at the side of the building. These were positioned to prevent the data room from overheating and help minimise fire risk. Due to the position of these units, the gas cylinders needed to be installed within the unusable gaps in between the HVAC units, in order to save space and ensure the design and layout of the room was not compromised.

Due to its environmentally friendly properties, HYGOOD’s clean agent SAPPHIRE System with Novec™ 1230 was selected as the most suitable fire suppression system to protect the datacentre room. SAPPHIRE systems are known for their reduced environmental impact as the agent, Novec™ 1230 Fluid, has zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and negligible global warming potential (GWP). The atmospheric lifetime of the Novec 1230 Fluid is only between three and five days, making the SAPPHIRE system an ideal solution to protect the data room without any harmful impact on the environment.

Principal of the University of Edinburgh, Prof Sir Timothy O’Shea, said: “The University of Edinburgh has for many decades been a pioneer in high performance computing. Now that Big Data is reaching into an even greater range of areas we are delighted to have the Archer facility and its support at Edinburgh.”

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