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An energy-efficient supercomputer which is the “greenest of its kind” has been built at Cambridge University.
Named ‘Wilkes’ after computing pioneer Maurice Wilkes, the machine’s performance is equivalent to 4,000 desktop machines running at once.
The computer will be used for development of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – the biggest radio telescope ever made.
Designed and built by the in-house engineering team within the Cambridge High Performance Computing Service, Wilkes’ energy efficiency is 3,361 Mega-flops per watt. Flops (floating point operations per second) are a standard measure of computing performance.
The new system has been rated second in the “Green 500″ – a ranking of the most efficient supercomputers worldwide. While the first-placed machine, built by a team in Tokyo, used an oil-cooled system, Wilkes is cooled using air, making it the greenest machine of its kind.
Cambridge is leading the design of the computational platform within the SKA. ‘Wilkes’ will play an integral role in this design process.